From December 16-18, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will host the first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in Geneva, where governments, refugees, and civil society will gather to pledge commitments towards meeting the goals set forth in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). Signed in December 2018, the GCR presents a framework that outlines key protection concerns for the almost 26 million refugees around the world.
The 2019 Global Refugee Forum is the first Forum to be held every four years to provide concrete pledges and contributions towards the objectives set forth in the GCR. The Forum will focus on six themes including: education, jobs and livelihoods, energy and infrastructure, protection capacity, burden and responsibility sharing, and solutions.
Jesuit Refugee Service has provided input into this process from the very beginning, including participating in the consultative process leading up to the GCR. In advance of the Forum, JRS developed and submitted four organizational pledges related to three of the priority areas: education, jobs and livelihoods, and solutions.
These pledges build on JRS’s current work to ensure that refugees in the countries where we operate have access to educational, employment, and professional development opportunities; face fewer gender-based educational disparities; and are able to confront the drivers of violence and conflict by striving for reconciliation.
JRS colleagues from around the world also developed a series of good practices, highlighting ways in which JRS is continually assessing, adapting, and innovating our programs to better meet the needs of the refugees we serve. These include working more closely with refugee-led community based secondary schools in Uganda, providing access to teacher training for refugees in Chad, and building communities of hospitality in Europe.
We encourage all stakeholders – including the U.S. Government – to engage in this important process by working closely with refugees and find real solutions to some of the most challenging issues of our time.