Media release

UNHCR partners with Arm to solve complex displacement challenges 

UN Refugee Agency announces two-year partnership with technology leader 


A new two-year partnership between Cambridge-headquartered technology leader Arm and UK for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, will help refugees and forcibly displaced and stateless communities around the world. Through the partnership, Arm will provide technical and capacity-building support to UNHCR’s Innovation Service, in addition to a generous grant. 

Innovation Service Director Hovig Etyemezian welcomed the agreement. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Arm to creatively solve some of the most complex challenges facing refugees and forcibly displaced people.” 

Arm’s expertise in the foundational computing technologies powering everything from sensors to smartphones to supercomputers, along with the funds donated, will provide crucial support to the Innovation Service’s work to address problems facing refugees, forcibly displaced, and stateless persons. 

“At Arm, we believe that technology has the potential to build a better world for everyone,” said Will Abbey, senior vice president, sales and partner enablement at Arm.

“The tech sector has a significant role to play in building, supporting and deploying solutions that can help address many of the world’s critical environmental and social issues. This new partnership with UNHCR is an important milestone in our commitment to helping to deliver sustainable, inclusive and equitable solutions that serve global communities and help to close the digital divide, as well as enabling and empowering others to create their own solutions.” 

UNHCR’s Innovation Service works to ensure that the agency’s humanitarian response is fit for the future, and that the organisation can continue to anticipate, prepare for and respond to humanitarian crises effectively. The work covers a range of areas, including data, digital inclusion, refugee-led innovation, and environmental resilience.   

“We know the responsible deployment of new technologies will be fundamental to ensuring UNHCR remains an agile, innovative organization – one that is prepared to anticipate and respond to the humanitarian crises of tomorrow,” said Etyemezian. 

Since its inception in 2012, the Innovation Service has worked to create an environment where innovation can flourish within UNHCR, supporting people across the agency to use new ideas and tools to solve problems and deliver its mission more effectively.  

The Service has established an inclusive governance system for innovation within UNHCR, invested in research to drive decision-making, and upskilled hundreds of colleagues through its Innovation Learning programme. It has helped drive key initiatives to update UNHCR’s humanitarian response, including the use of automated messaging apps (chatbots) to ensure displaced communities are better informed faster. 

Now, the projects the Service is supporting tackle a range of issues across different country contexts, all designed to deliver social, economic, educational, environmental, and health benefits to displaced people and host communities. Recent examples include a project to collect and recycle e-waste in Bangladesh, aquaponics training to increase food security and support women’s livelihoods in Malawi, and a global early warning system on forced displacement. 

Emma Cherniavsky, Chief Executive of UK for UNHCR, said: “We are hugely grateful to Arm for their donation and this partnership, which will help UNHCR to develop, test and scale up innovative solutions that genuinely empower refugees in the decisions that affect their lives.” 

Arm will provide financial and technical support to UNHCR’s Innovation Service via the UN Refugee Agency’s national charity partner in the UK, UK for UNHCR. Together, Arm and UNHCR will make a difference in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable, using new ideas and new tools to resolve stubborn challenges. 

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For media interviews or further information please contact Sara Guy, Email: [email protected] ,Tel.: 0208 183 0121


About UK for UNHCR 

UK for UNHCR is the UN Refugee Agency’s national charity partner for the UK. We build solidarity, create partnerships and raise funds across the UK to help deliver global humanitarian relief for refugees through UNHCR’s work.  

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. It delivers life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, helps safeguard fundamental human rights, and develops solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. UNHCR also works to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. 

UK for UNHCR is a registered charity in England and Wales (registered charity number 1183415). 

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