UNHCR-NGO 2021 Monthly Consultations

Going beyond the information-sharing focus and the usual panel and Q&A format, the perspectives provided by participants aim to strengthen the policymaking processes at the stages of conception, drafting, impact assessment, decision-making, as well as monitoring and evaluation of policy implementation, when appropriate. It is also aimed to have some impact through manageable and prioritized follow-up action points.

The aim of the Consultations is to:

  • Lead to concrete and lively exchanges between UNHCR and NGOs, sometimes inclusive of other actors;
  • Link to ongoing policy and strategy developments (e.g. UNHCR policies developed/reviewed in 2021 and which would benefit from NGO inputs);
  • Link to major global initiatives and processes (e.g. related to the Global Refugee Forum follow-up);
  • Link to operational aspects, particularly in engaging NGOs in the operationalization of specific policies and strategies or in discussing – at global level – coordination and implementing partnerships issues;
  • Connect to past discussions such as those organized in 2020 around the COVID-19 situation;
  • Lead to collective recommendations and/or follow-up actions.

On this page, you will find:

  • A list of past Consultations and an executive summary of each session;
  • Public background materials and guidance documents related to the topics discussed;
  • A list of topics for future Consultations (available soon);
  • Guidance on how to participate in the Consultations;
  • An information note on the background, participation criteria and logistics of the Monthly Consultations with NGOs;
  • Notes and the presentations of our panellists are sent by e-mail to registered participants. Requests for the notes and presentations can be made by e-mail to [email protected].

Past sessions:

Participation criteria

In keeping with the longstanding participation approach applicable to the UNHCR-NGO Global Consultations, NGOs who wish to attend and contribute to those consultations should meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be an implementing partner of UNHCR in 2020/2021
  • Be an NGO collaborating with UNHCR (including operational partners and Refugee Led-Organizations) with a demonstrated interest in the solution to the problem of refugees, internally displaced persons and/or statelessness and/or in the themes of the consultations;
  • Be a member of ICVA
  • Have consultative status with ECOSOC (UN Economic and Social Council) with a demonstrated interest in the solution to the problem of refugees, internally displaced persons and/or statelessness and/or in the themes of the consultations;

Depending on the topic, other actors (e.g. academia representatives, sports associations, etc.) may be allowed to join as observer for specific sessions.

If your NGO fulfils one or more criteria above, kindly send an email explaining why you wish to attend and contribute to the UNHCR-NGO Monthly Consultations to [email protected]. The email subject must include “Participation in UNHCR-NGO Monthly Consultations -Name of Organization”.

Session 2 : Dialogue between NGOs and the High Commissioner for Refugees (24 February 2021)
Session 1: Operationalizing UNHCR’s Strategic Framework on Climate Action (27 January 2021)

Session 2: Dialogue between NGOs and the High Commissioner for Refugees (24 February 2021)


  • Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Ignacio Packer, Executive Director (ICVA)

The consultation focused on UNHCR and NGO partnership developments in 2020, and priorities for 2021 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of partnership developments, 2020 was a difficult year for humanitarian actors, but also a year of opportunities to strengthen UNHCR-NGOs partnerships with various exchanges. In line with UNHCR’s decentralization, Regional NGO Consultations will be convened in 2021, while there will be no consultation at global level this year. UNHCR also highlighted that 2020 also witnessed deepened relationships with Faith-Based-Organisations (FBOs) and Refugee-led-organisations (RLOs) in advancing the localization agenda. Another notable development is partnership reforms, such as greater budgetary flexibility and shortening the partnership project agreements, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the partnership.
As a key priority in 2021, participants stressed the need to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines for all people on the move. Emphasis should be equally put on the short-term effects of the pandemic, for example regarding the access to vaccinations, and long-term socio-economic impacts. The discussion also highlighted some of the most negative impacts of containment measures taken by some State actors, including on access to international protection and durable solutions (e.g. border closures, pushbacks, interruption of education for millions of children, a rise in gender-based violence (GBV), and a drop in resettlement departures). UNHCR and NGOs, as partners, recognized the need to be more vocal together, notably through advocacy for resource mobilization to address, inter alia, the increase of GBV and access to education for refugee children; and joint advocacy for the inclusion of displaced populations and stateless persons in national vaccination plans but also beyond the health area, in existing mechanisms and services.

Session 1: Operationalizing UNHCR’s Strategic Framework on Climate Action (27 January 2021)


  • Mr. Andrew Harper, Special Advisor on Climate Action (UNHCR)
  • Ms. Madeline Garlick, Senior Legal Coordinator, Division of International Protection (UNHCR)
  • Ms. Kayly Ober, Senior Advocate and Program Manager of the climate displacement program at Refugees International, speaking on behalf of the Climate, Migration & Displacement Platform (CMDP)
  • Ms. Natalie Topa, Regional Resilience and Livelihoods Coordinator for East Africa and Great Lakes Region (Danish Refugee Council)

The consultation focused on operationalizing UNHCR’s Strategic Framework on Climate Action. Mr. Andrew Harper began by highlighting three key pillars of the UNHCR’s Strategic Framework on Climate Action, and next steps of operationalizing it. Ms. Madeline Garlick provided information around the legal and normative foundation of the Framework, calling on extending partnerships with relevant fora including legal experts. Ms. Kayly Ober, representing over 30 civil society organizations at the Climate, Migration and Displacement Platform (CMDP), stressed that NGOs are willing to join hands in the actual implementation of the Framework from the beginning, requesting UNHCR to provide a timeline for its implementation. Last speaker, Ms. Natalie Topa shared good practices in the East Africa and Great Lakes Region where DRC has provided locals with tools and skills to build resilient households, farms and landscapes. The discussion ended with contributions from various NGO participants about the development of Regional Plans of Actions and suggestions to organize regional workshops to follow up the implementation of the Framework, as well as encouraging UNHCR’s continuous engagement in the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 (COP26) and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.