The second Global Refugee Forum (GRF) unfolded from December 13 to 15, 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland, accompanied by linked events spanning from December 11.
As the world’s largest international assembly on refugees held every four years, the Forum aimed to facilitate the practical realization of goals outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees. These goals include alleviating pressures on host countries, fostering refugee self-reliance, expanding access to third-country solutions, and improving conditions in countries of origin.
This year’s Forum witnessed an impressive turnout, with over 4,200 participants from 168 countries, including more than 300 refugee delegates. Additionally, 10,000 individuals followed the proceedings online, attesting to the global significance of the event.
Notably, the Forum generated over 1,600 pledges to support refugees and their host communities, encompassing 43 multi-partner commitments spearheaded by governments. A noteworthy $2.2 billion in fresh financial commitments, with approximately $250 million pledged by the private sector, instills hope for the more than 36 million refugees displaced globally. Co-convened by Colombia, France, Japan, Jordan, and Uganda, the 2023 Forum was co-hosted by the Government of Switzerland and UNHCR.
Local and Regional Governments Day
A pivotal segment of the Forum was the Local and Regional Governments (LRG) Day organized by the Global Taskforce. Esteemed local leaders from the MEWA Region actively participated, including Uğur İbrahim Altay, the Mayor of Konya and the President of UCLG, Yousef Alshawarbeh, the Mayor of Amman and UCLG-MEWA Co-President, and Hasan Kılca, the Mayor of Karatay.
“Local governments, as the governing bodies working closest to the public, are obliged to serve all individuals, regardless of their status.”
Uğur İbrahim Altay
“The refugee issue should not be a matter of occasional concern; it must remain a central and constant priority. The efforts of Jordan and the host countries do not absolve the international community of its responsibilities.”
Dr. Yousef Alshawarbeh
Dr. Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary-General, played a significant role during LRG Day, delivering a compelling speech titled “Towards a Human-Rights-Centered Renewed Multilateral System in the Era of Global Shocks: Framing the Contribution of the Local Human Mobility Agenda to the Summit of the Future.”
“At the heart of our renewed multilateral system lie the pragmatic blueprints offered by migration governance and refugee protection at the local level”
Dr. Mehmet Duman
UCLG Working Group on Territorial Prevention and Management of Crises Annual Meeting
Within the framework of GRF, the UCLG Working Group on Territorial Prevention and Management of Crises convened its annual meeting, bringing together stakeholders from different levels. This working group serves as a platform for local governments to exchange knowledge and expertise on disaster management. During the one-day program, Dr. Mehmet Duman addressed the pivotal role of city diplomacy during crises and global shocks, highlighting the importance of local governments in these challenging situations.
The profound involvement of UCLG-MEWA and its constituency in the GRF underscores the unwavering dedication to tackling the intricate challenges confronting refugees and displaced populations across the region and at the global level. By fostering collaborative endeavors and embracing shared commitments, UCLG-MEWA persistently plays a pivotal role in shaping the global discourse on refugee issues and disaster management.