Global Problem-Solvers Gathering In Geneva With Focus On Refugees


(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Several thousand people, including several heads of state, are expected to attend, four years after the first World Refugee Forum.

Co-organised by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Switzerland, the meeting should result in new pledges to implement the Global Compact on Refugees, approved in 2018. Of the 115 million or so displaced and stateless people in the world, a third are refugees.

"Humanitarian needs outstrip resources", a UNHCR official told reporters in Geneva. And he called on the various players to work together to find lasting solutions.

Participants include UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the King of Jordan, the Vice-President of Colombia, several heads of government and dozens of foreign ministers. French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to send his prime minister instead.

On the Swiss side, Wednesday's election of the Federal Council (executive body) by parliament is preventing any high-level participation at the opening of the meeting, despite the fact that Switzerland is hosting it. The Swiss delegation will be led by Christine Schraner Burgener, state secretary for migration.

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NGOs not happy with Switzerland

Switzerland will present commitments on the fight against human trafficking, access to education, the protection of unaccompanied minors, the participation of refugees and the environmental consequences of forced displacement, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Keystone-SDA. Not enough, according to NGOs.

Some are calling on the Federal Council and cantonal and local authorities to resettle more refugees in Switzerland from overburdened host countries. The National Council is due to debate a possible suspension of these places for the next few years.

In all, around three quarters of refugees are in the countries of the South. These host countries should "be recognised as a global public good", according to the head of the UNHCR.

Hundreds of refugees expected in Geneva

In addition to more resettlements, the meeting should help to reduce the pressure on host communities and refugees, increase their opportunities in society, and promote the right conditions for refugees to return home.

Four years ago, at the first Forum, nearly 1,800 pledges were made in Geneva by governments, international organisations and other stakeholders. Just under a third of these pledges have been honoured in full, and others are in the process of being fulfilled. This year, the volume will be smaller. The focus will be on education, climate change, refugee income and refugee participation.

Regional issues will also be addressed, notably the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and the Horn of Africa. Several hundred refugees will also be taking part in the meeting.

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