With 70% of the world’s displaced seeking refuge in urban areas, local and regional governments (LRGs) are crucial partners to help advance durable solutions for refugees. The Global Cities Hub (GCH) is committed to connect LRGs to international multilateral processes, like the Global Refugee Forum (GRF).
Held every 4 years and organized by UNHCR, the GRF will hold its 2nd edition on 13-15 December 2023 in Geneva. The GRF will gather the international community to discuss, review and support the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), adopted in 2018 by the UN, which has 4 main objectives: a) ease pressures on countries hosting a large number of refugees; b) enhance refugees’ self-reliance; c) increase refugees’ access to third-country solutions; d) improve conditions in countries of origin to promote the return of refugees.
The implementation of the GCR relies on a “whole-of-society approach”, with States and all relevant stakeholders, such as local and regional governments, NGOs, refugees themselves, youth, the private sector, diaspora, etc., being called upon to present pledges at the GRF on how they take action to reach the four main GCR objectives. It is therefore important for LRGs to take part in the GRF and to present their perspectives on how to best protect, assist and include refugees in host societies, at the local level. Several mayors will thus be present in Geneva, supported by MMC and UCLG.
The Global Cities Hub will take part in 3 important GRF high level events (in person events, open to those attending the GRF; see the GRF programme here):
- “Cities and urban policy” (11h00 -12h30, 15 December, Palexpo, Geneva): this event will provide the opportunity for Mayors participating to the GRF to share their commitments on how they implement the GCR and it will also encourage stronger partnerships between various levels of governments and also with other relevant stakeholders for stronger refugee protection.
- “Human settlements” (13h30-15h00, 15 December, Palexpo, Geneva): this event will showcase innovative solutions put forward by a broad array of actors who invest in the development of integrated climate resilient human settlements for refugees and hosting communities. The approach promoted seeks to go beyond the traditional encampment approach and instead emphasize self-reliance and the inclusion of displaced populations, including in urban areas.
- “Local and Regional Governments Day” ( 15h30 to 18h30, 14 December, Palexpo, Geneva): organized by UCLG, this event will gather representatives from city networks and local leaders to discuss local best practices in advancing local commitments for refugees and explore further cooperation with national governments and international stakeholders.
The GRF will be livestreamed here.