Frequently asked questions
1. What is the purpose of the Global Refugee Forum (GRF)?
The four Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) objectives are: (i) ease the pressures on host countries; (ii) enhance refugee self-reliance; (iii) expand access to third-country solutions; and (iv) support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.
The Global Refugee Forum (GRF) is an opportunity, held once every four years, to facilitate the announcement of concrete pledges and contributions, take stock of progress, and consider learnings and opportunities, challenges, and ways in which burden and responsibility sharing in support of the four objectives of the GCR can be enhanced.
Pledging refers to the commitments made by different entities, such as governments, organizations, or private donors, to support and address the challenges related to refugees. These commitments can include financial, material, and technical assistance, resettlement places, complementary pathways for admission to third countries, and other actions aligned with the GCR objectives. The pledging process aims to secure concrete commitments from stakeholders to fulfill the objectives of the GCR and support refugees. A number of multi-stakeholder pledges are currently under development. Learn more about multistakeholder pledges on the GCR digital platform.
Stocktaking involves assessing and evaluating the progress made towards the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). It provides an opportunity for stakeholders to review the implementation of pledges and initiatives made since the previous GRF in 2019. During stocktaking, stakeholders identify gaps, challenges, and areas where further action is needed to address the refugee crisis effectively. A key element of stocktaking is the biennial GCR indicator report providing the evidence base needed to assess progress. The 2023 GCR indicator report will be launched on 17 November.
Learning is done through sharing and disseminating good practices and experiences that have effectively contributed to the objectives of the GCR. Through learning and sharing good practices, stakeholders can identify effective strategies, innovative solutions, and successful programmes that can be replicated and scaled up to further support refugees and host communities. Learning from each other's experiences allows stakeholders to enhance their approaches and responses to refugee situations.
2. When and where will the Global Refugee Forum 2023 take place?
The GRF 2023 will be convened for invited participants at the Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland from 13 to 15 December 2023, with linked events held in other locations from 11 December 2023 onwards.
3. Who will attend the Global Refugee Forum?
The Forum is an in-person ministerial event convened for all United Nations Member States together with relevant stakeholders, including international organizations, humanitarian and development actors; international and regional financial institutions; regional organizations; local authorities; civil society, including faith-based organizations; academics and other experts; the private sector; media; host community members, and refugees themselves. Attendance is by invitation only, but the plenary sessions will be livestreamed for those who wish to follow the event online.
4. How can I attend the Global Refugee Forum?
Attendance is by invitation only. A livestream of the plenaries will be available for those who wish to follow the event online.
5. Do I need a visa to enter Switzerland (to attend the GRF 2023)?
For information related to who requires a visa to enter Switzerland, the application process, and pre-departure formalities, participants are encouraged to consult the State Secretariat for Migration website for all short-term visa matters.
6. How can stakeholders get involved in the Global Refugee Forum?
GCR-related initiatives, listed on the Global Compact digital platform, are the main vehicles for getting involved, as they focus on mobilising support and developing pledges linked to the themes set out in the GCR and specific situations.
Additionally, stakeholder mays wish to:
7. Will there be refugee representatives at the Global Refugee Forum?
Building on recommendations from the first Forum, UNHCR is working with partners to engage refugees in preparations, the event, and follow-up for the GRF 2023. These efforts include supporting refugee-led groups and networks to participate in preparatory meetings and briefings, ensuring that refugees and stateless persons are central to the discussions as experts and advisers on pledges and GCR initiatives, and including refugees as speakers, moderators, and participants at the GRF. All stakeholders attending the GRF are also encouraged to include refugees as a part of their delegations.
An independent delegation of refugee thematic experts and leaders will also be invited to the Global Refugee Forum. This delegate was selected through a call for expressions of interest launched in November 2022 and in line with principles of transparency and diversity of participation.
Displaced and stateless people are encouraged to reach out to UNHCR in the country where they are living to find out more information about how the office is including persons under UNHCR’s mandate in the preparation of GRF pledges, as well as in other national and local preparations for the GRF in 2023. You can find contact information for your country online.
For more ways to get involved, please refer to the guide on 8 ways displaced and stateless people can actively engage in the next Global Refugee Forum, hosted on the GCR digital platform.
8. How will the Global Refugee Forum be organized?
UNHCR is convening a series of formal preparatory meetings and informal quarterly briefings to consult and update on the GRF preparations and GCR implementation. More information on past meetings, summary of discussions, and dates of upcoming events is available online.
A draft programme and key considerations were developed in consultation with Governments and other stakeholders, including the Advisory Board of Organizations Led by Forcibly Displaced and Stateless Persons and the NGO Reference Group, and presented at the 17 May Formal Preparatory Meeting. The latest version of the programme of the GRF is available online and will be updated regularly. Please visit this page regularly to learn more.
As indicated in the draft programme, in addition to the plenary sessions, UNHCR is ensuring further space for multi-stakeholder interventions and dialogue, showcasing high quality pledges, including matched pledges, and good practices through high-level events, linked events, and other modalities which speak to the key outcomes. The background note shares basic information for stakeholders wishing to be involved in organizing events, inviting them to inviting them to explore joining a GCR initiative.
9. How is the programme for the Global Refugee Forum developed and what is expected?
A draft programme and key considerations were developed in consultation with Governments and other stakeholders, including the Advisory Board of Organizations Led by Forcibly Displaced and Stateless Persons and the NGO Reference Group, and presented at the 17 May Formal Preparatory Meeting. These are available in the meeting background note.
As indicated in the draft programme, in addition to the plenary sessions, UNHCR is ensuring further space for multi-stakeholder interventions and dialogue, showcasing high quality pledges, including matched pledges, and good practices through side events, linked events, spotlight sessions, exhibits, and other modalities which speak to the key outcomes. The note also shares basic information for stakeholders wishing to be involved in organizing events, inviting them to explore joining a GCR initiative.
1. What are the key considerations for pledging this year? What has changed since 2019?
Building on lessons learned from the first GRF, UNHCR is calling for high-quality pledges for 2023. They should be:
- Additional, providing new support, allocations of resources, or engagement to enhance burden and responsibility sharing. Current programmes and pledges demonstrating positive impact could be shared as either pledge updates on the pledges and contributions dashboard or as good practices on the GCR digital platform, and can be shared during the GRF.
- Quantifiable and measurable, providing, where possible, an implementation timeline, costs, beneficiary data, and details of support provided or needed for implementation of the pledge, to facilitate and demonstrate positive impact.
- Needs-driven, aligning the pledge with the key recommendations and the GCR principles and objectives and, where possible, matched (financial, material, and technical support for the implementation of policy commitments made by host countries).
The 20 key recommendations from the 2021 High-Level Officials Meeting, which are aligned with the GCR principles and objectives, can be used to guide the development of new pledges.
A pledge matching portal is available on the GCR digital platform to facilitate matching of policy pledges made by host countries since 2019 with financial and material support. UNHCR is available to facilitate discussions with Governments and other relevant stakeholders to secure matching in advance of the GRF 2023.
2. How can stakeholders get involved in developing pledges?
Building upon lessons learned from the GRF 2019 co-sponsorship arrangements, multi-stakeholder engagement for the GRF 2023 will be advanced primarily through the existing initiatives linked to the GCR, outlined on the GCR digital platform. Pledges also may be made outside of these initiatives.
These initiatives act as engines for developing joint pledges in line with the guidance on pledges set out above and can participate in the relevant briefings convened by UNHCR to share strategies, progress, and calls to action, as well as information about national, regional, and global priorities.
Stakeholders can get involved in developing pledges by participating in multi-stakeholder pledges currently under development. UNHCR will facilitate discussions and provide guidance for developing pledges at the country, regional, or global levels.
In addition, UNHCR has formed a reference group for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) comprised of NGO networks from around the world, as well as an Advisory Board comprised of global, regional, and local organizations led by forcibly displaced and stateless people, which serve as further consultative mechanisms for the preparations of the GRF and the development of pledges. NGOs, including RLOs, will have further opportunities to engage in consultations on pledge development through the regional NGO consultations. For further information, please contact [email protected]
3. What is the deadline and format for the submission of new pledges?
Pledges can be submitted through the online form on the GCR digital platform at any time, but it is highly encouraged to make the submission in advance of the GRF to facilitate effective pre-matching. All pledging entities will make an individual submission of their pledges. In the pledging form, they will be able to indicate if their pledge is a contribution to any of the multi-stakeholder pledge(s). They can also contact the GCR Coordination Team ([email protected]) for guidance.
4. How will new pledges be recorded?
An updated multi-language pledge submission form will be launched mid-year to ensure that pledges are aligned with the key elements of a high-quality pledge outlined above. Where pledges do not fully align with these elements, UNHCR will follow up with pledging entities to consider adjustments and determine the next steps. New pledges may be submitted at any time leading-up to and following the GRF 2023. All pledging entities will make an individual submission of their pledges. In the pledging form, they will be able to indicate if their pledge is a contribution to any of the multi-stakeholder pledge(s). Pledging entities are encouraged to share information about the pledges they are considering or working towards during the global briefings on the GRF in 2023 to facilitate matching in advance of the GRF and build momentum.
5. How will pledge implementation be tracked?
Similar to the first GRF, a light online self-reporting mechanism will continue to track pledges made by pledging entities, with the reporting mechanism continuously open and updates requested on a biannual basis. The results of these updates will appear on the pledges dashboard on the GCR digital platform, indicating whether a pledge is in the planning phase, in progress, or fulfilled. Analysis of progress towards pledge implementation will also be shared through regular briefings convened by UNHCR on the GCR and the GRF as well as stocktaking for the 2025 High-Level Officials Meeting.
6. What will happen with unfulfilled pledges from the GRF 2019?
Pledges announced since 2019 will continue to be implemented, while new pledges are being developed. Pledging entities are encouraged to continue to provide progress updates on the implementation of their pledges, regardless of when they were made. For pledges not yet delivered, pledging entities are also encouraged to seek matches via the pledge matching portal on the GCR digital platform.
1. What is the GCR Indicator Report and when is it due to be published?
The GCR Indicator report is part of the follow-up and review of the GCR. Its overall objective is to measure and sustain progress towards achieving the four interrelated and interdependent goals of the GCR, applying a data-driven and evidence-based approach that builds on the agreed GCR Indicator Framework, which was developed after extensive consultations with States and other GCR stakeholders in 2019 and refined in 2022.
The report aims to measure and show how the international community implemented the core principle of predictable and equitable burden- and responsibility-sharing to improve the lives of refugees and host communities. The GCR indicator report is published every two years and is designed to contribute to the evidence base needed to guide the discussions and development of pledges and contributions at the Global Refugee Forums and High-Level Officials Meetings. It charts how far the international community has come since the development and affirmation of the Compact and how far we need to go in realizing its vision.
2. How does the indicator report relate to the Forum?
The indicator report provides valuable data, key findings, and recommendations needed to develop high-impact pledges which address current gaps in responses. It is also designed to help guide discussions at forums and meetings, ensuring effective, evidence-based approaches to the achievement of the GCR objectives.
1. What is a GRF 2023 Event Ecosystem?
The Event Ecosystem is comprised of three events that are part of the Global Refugee Forum 2023, taking place within Palexpo and around Geneva. These three events consist of:
The Speaker’s Corner: Taking place within the Palexpo at the Global Refugee Forum, the Speaker’s Corner provides an opportunity for participants to showcase their good practices by delivering a short talk. The aim is to generate interest in a particular area of work and inspire contributions towards the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees.
The Digital Exhibition Space: Situated within the Palexpo, the Digital Exhibition Space provides an opportunity for multi-stakeholder engagement around the GRF 2023 through digital content curated to demonstrate and highlight stories, best practices, initiatives, projects, and other relevant content from around the world, through multiple digital platforms. The platforms include, but are not limited to, video, audio, images, and text.
Linked Events: Taking place outside around Geneva and online (outside of Palexpo), Linked Events provide stakeholders an opportunity to independently organize events that build broader awareness and mobilize support. These events can be featured in the GRF 2023 programme, provided that they align with the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), the purpose of the GRF, and do not conflict with key moments at the GRF, including the opening and closing plenaries and Nansen ceremonies. Organizers will need to identify their own venue and assume all responsibility for preparing and funding their linked events.
2. How can I submit proposals to be featured in the Event Ecosystem and what is the deadline for submissions?
Interested stakeholders are encouraged to share their proposals for any of the three events through [email protected]. The deadline for proposals for The Speaker’s Corner and The Digital Exhibition Space is the 3rd of October 2023, while the Linked Event proposals may be shared until the 30th of October 2023. Linked Events proposals should include the following,
- Date, time, and venue of the event
- Brief paragraph of 200-500 characters describing your event
- Event format and activities
- Naming any stakeholders and partners involved – if applicable
- Event programme – if applicable
- Logistics notes – if applicable
- Is the event open to the public? Does the event involve refugee participation?