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Billions of Dollars and In-Kind Contributions Pledged at Global Refugee Forum

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers a statement during the UNHCR - Global Refugee Forum at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 17, 2019.

The first-ever Global Refugee Forum has ended with more than 770 pledges worth billions of dollars in financial, technical, material, legal and other assistance in support of millions of refugees and the communities that host them.

The biggest single contribution came from the World Bank, which pledged $2.2 billion. This was matched by pledges of more than $3 billion dollars in additional resources by states and $250 million from private corporations.

However, the total value of the pledges made at the forum will not be known for some time. This is because many of the contributions come in the form of projects run by corporations, aid agencies, civic, faith-based and other organizations. Many involve beneficial projects for refugees by creating jobs and livelihoods, enhancing employment for women, educational opportunities for children, pro bono legal services and the like.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi says everything will be quickly analyzed and monitored.

“It is difficult to add up the different type of contributions, but…we want to monitor the implementation of these pledges altogether and we want to measure impact as soon as possible. We have developed with states a set of indicators that will give us progressively a sense of how much the pledges made around this forum have an impact,” Grandi said.

More than 3,000 people, including heads of state, U.N. leaders, senior officials from international institutions, development organizations, and the private sector attended the forum.

About 80 refugees from 22 countries living in 30 countries of exile also participated. Their presence, testimonies and stories of suffering and endurance put a human face on the cold statistics that accompany refugee numbers.

The aim of the three-day meeting was to generate new approaches and long-term commitments in support of the world’s 25 million refugees. Grandi says the burden of caring for these refugees falls mainly on the poor countries. He says the forum pushed the message that this responsibility must be shared by the rich countries.

“We cannot go to a world in which responsibility sharing means some states keep all the refugees and some states pay all the money. We cannot do that. That is why we have resettlement. That is why we have different types of partnership. That is why asylum has to remain in reality in all parts of the world, including in the rich countries,” Grandi said.

Grandi says the success of this forum will be measured by the number of pledges that are kept and implemented. He says he believes the enthusiasm and creativity shown by the participants augurs well. He says this has all the makings for a successful outcome. He notes a second Global Refugee Forum will take place in four years time.