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Private sector and religious leaders from Asia make concrete pledges for a brighter future


Private sector and religious leaders from Asia make concrete pledges for a brighter future

19 January 2024
Switzerland. Afternoon of day two at the Global Refugee Forum 2023
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, meets delegates at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva.

The 2023 Global Refugee Forum (GRF) took place from 13 to 15 December in Geneva, Switzerland and saw Asia’s private sector and faith-based organizations step up and speak up through various pledges in support of refugees.

Held every four years, the Forum is the world’s largest international gathering on refugees, designed to support the practical implementation of the objectives set out in the Global Compact on Refugees: ease pressures on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, increase access to third-country solutions and improve conditions in countries of origin. As participants at the event heard throughout, the private sector and faith-based organizations have crucial roles to play in making this happen.

Over three days, the Forum saw in total more than 1,600 pledges made to support refugees and their host communities including some $250 million in financial contributions pledged by the private sector. These outcomes offer a source of hope to the more than 36 million refugees displaced worldwide and demonstrate the impact private sector partnerships can have on some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Private sector partners and religious leaders in Asia contributed to the Forum’s success in a number of areas:

Sustainable energy: LONGi, a solar technology company, and UNHCR announced a new partnership at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in December and reaffirmed its commitment to energy equity at the GRF, taking part in the multistakeholder pledge on Climate Resilient Sustainable Human Settlements for Refugees and their Host Communities.

Economic inclusion: Elevandi, another new partner of UNHCR, pledged to support skills training and employment opportunities for refugees. Announced at the recent Singapore FinTech Festival, the three-year partnership with Elevandi will support UNHCR’s economic inclusion programmes, including MADE51, a global initiative to empower refugee artisans and connect them with international markets.

Access to health and improved WASH: With $6 million over three years, Sony pledged to strengthen refugee health services and access to clean, safe water and sanitation in Bangladesh and the southern Africa region. At the Forum, Mitsu Shippee, Senior General Manager of Sony Group Corporation’s sustainability department said, “Sony will also leverage its expertise and technology to help UNHCR improve services and solutions for refugees and forcibly displaced people.”

Opportunities and self-reliance: The Japan Buddhist Federation pledged to foster New Initiatives of Refugee Assistance in the Japanese Buddhist Community by activating the powerful networks and connections of the community to harness widespread support for refugees and others forced to flee their homes. The massive network of some 75,000 Buddhist temples across Japan will support in raising funds through Japan for UNHCR and advocacy and awareness-raising will be carried out in the spirit of peace and compassion.

Singapore’s Rahmatan Lil Alamin (Blessings to All) Foundation made a similar pledge, as did the Religious Community in the Republic of Korea which, through a joint pledge named ‘Living Together’, committed to spreading social empathy and understanding in support of the forcibly displaced. The Korea Conference of Religions for Peace and the Korea Muslim Federation committed to embrace refugees as members of the community through collaborating to organize events such as World Refugee Day and lending their voices to policy proposals that aim to protect refugees and support their integration into society.

These pledges, delivered through strategic partnerships with UNHCR, represent a tangible roadmap towards a brighter future for refugees. By supporting sustainable energy, economic inclusion, access to health, WASH and opportunities to foster self-reliance and welcoming communities, these commitments offer a foundation for real change.

The Global Refugee Forum serves as a potent reminder that collective action can make a real difference in the lives of refugees. As these partnerships move forward, the focus remains on translating pledges into concrete improvements, one step at a time, towards a brighter future for millions displaced worldwide.




For more information, please contact:

  • Jemma Galvin - Private Sector Communication Officer, UNHCR Asia and the Pacific, [email protected]