3,000 representatives of governments, the development and aid sectors, and civil society organizations gathered in Geneva this past week for the invitation-only Global Refugee Forum attempting to address what “burden-sharing and responsibility-sharing” look like when it comes to the needs of more than 25 million refugees and their host communities around the world. This is a tall order at a time when the numbers of displaced are swelling worldwide, fatigue and outright rejection among some donors and host countries is increasing, and some wealthy countries – notably the United States – are dramatically scaling back resettlement and asylum programs.
“Sharing responsibly, the foundation of our modern system for protecting refugees, is being replaced in countries with more resources by pushing responsibility on those countries less able to cope, and so refugees are pushed aside too,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi noted in the opening session.
Steps taken in Geneva included pledges of about $3 billion from states, $250 million from the private sector – with companies promising some 15,000 jobs to refugees – and several billion dollars from development banks, officials said.
Non-monetary pledges ranged from increased resettlement spots to giving refugee groups more input in policy-making. At the request of the refugee network, several states — including Australia, Canada, and Denmark — committed to giving refugees a more participatory role in policy-making.
[The New Humanitarian]