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High-Level Officials Meeting

High Commissioner Filippo Grandi gives the opening address at the High-Level Officials Meeting taking place virtually in the International Conference Centre in Geneva on 14 and 15 December 2021. The meeting was convened by UNHCR as a follow-up to the 2019 Global Refugee Forum.

Success under the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) is assessed in terms of progress towards the achievement of its four objectives. The main vehicles for follow-up and review under the GCR include:

- the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) held every four years;
- a High-Level Officials Meeting (HLOM) held two years after each GRF;
- the biennial GCR indicator report and the High Commissioner’s annual reporting to the General Assembly.

The first Global Refugee Forum was held in 2019, followed two years later by the first High-Level Officials Meeting (with an advance day on 13 December 2021 for side events). The next Global Refugee Forum will take place in December 2023.

What is the High-Level Officials Meeting?

The High-Level Officials Meeting is part of the process of building a long-term framework for engagement of States and other actors in refugee situations, as set out in the Global Compact on Refugees. It is a dynamic moment and milestone in implementing this approach. 
The event offered the opportunity for senior government officials and representatives of relevant stakeholder groups to take stock of progress made and to maintain the momentum towards achieving the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). Participants identified progress, challenges and where further engagement might be needed to increase support, self-reliance and access to solutions for refugees, taking into consideration the challenges posed by the pandemic.

In particular, the international community:  

  • took stock of efforts towards easing the pressure on countries hosting the largest populations of refugees, including through support for additional instruments and programmes for refugees and host communities. This support is also crucial for the national arrangements and refugee responses that are coordinated across government sectors and other stakeholder groups, which are central to the approach set out in the GCR. 
  • considered the extent to which refugees have been able to achieve self-reliance and how they and their host communities are faring economically. Self-reliance requires that refugees have access to jobs, livelihoods, and educational opportunities and that they are included in national systems. This enables them to participate in the social and economic life of their host communities and contribute to rebuilding their countries should they be able to return. 
  • recognized that many endeavours to facilitate solutions have been delayed by travel and other restrictions during the pandemic. The HLOM offered an opportunity to review where efforts have continued or been adapted and what more is needed both to advance third-country solutions addressed in the three-year strategy on resettlement and complementary pathways and to support conditions in countries of origin for sustainable voluntary return in safety and dignity.  

Priorities for the event included:  

  • expanding support for refugees and the countries who receive them;
  • advancing implementation of the pledges made at the first Global Refugee Forum;
  • directing efforts to the areas in need of further support.

Further information on these priorities can be found in the Reflecting on progress and charting the future infographic

Reviewing the progress and identifying challenges and areas in need of support will shape the substance and implementation of both ongoing and future pledges, partnerships and initiatives. The aim is to strengthen international cooperation in refugee responses, offer support where needed and translate the Global Compact on Refugees into concrete improvements in the lives of refugees and the communities that host them.