Global Refugee Forum   

On December 16-18, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees hosted the Global Refugee Forum to foster support for the more than 25 million refugees in the world today. It was attended by 3,000 representatives of “governments, international financial organizations” and “business leaders, humanitarian and development actors, refugees, and civil society representatives.” And it “secured wide-ranging and substantial commitments of support for refugees and the communities they live in.”[1]

The Global Refugee Forum website has an analysis of the 774 pledges to date. One was a pledge from  the World Bank Group for “up to US$2.2 billion . . . to be available for a dedicated funding window for refugee and host communities in low income countries over the next three years. In addition, countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence, including also low income refugee hosting countries, are expected to receive a new US$2.5 billion World Bank Group funding window. It will boost the private sector and create jobs, including for both refugees and host communities.”

Another pledge of $250 million came from major companies, including Ikea, Lego and Vodafone, to help refugees get access to education and employment and thereby become more self-sufficient.[2]

This effort has been aided by actors Cate Blanchett and Ben Stiller, who appeared in a social media campaign that highlighted stories of successful refugees including a model, a trainee pilot and an Olympic swimmer.

At the conclusion of the Forum, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Flippo Grand, told the participants, ““I want to salute the efforts pledged by many countries — both donors and by host countries — and by business leaders, civil society and refugees themselves, to redouble efforts in support of refugee inclusion, self-reliance and solutions. The energy and commitment that has resonated over the last three days is a testimony that despite a difficult global environment, there is a shared commitment to protecting those fleeing in search of refuge.”


[1] UNHCR, Global Refugee Forum pledges collective action for better refugee inclusion, education, jobs (Dec. 18, 2019; UNHCR, Historic forum yields pledges of jobs, education for refugees (Dec. 18, 2019).

[2] Cozens, Major companies pledge jobs, education for refugees, Reuters (Dec. 16, 2019).