Ireland pledges support for refugees at Global Refugee Forum


Mr David Stanton TD, Irish Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, at the Global Refugee Forum on 17 December. World leaders and UN officials gathered at the Forum to discuss how to strengthen the international response to forced displacement around the world.   © UNHCR/Markel Redondo



Ireland will welcome up to 2,900 refugees over the coming four years as part of its ongoing response to increased forced displacement.

The announcement was made at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva on 17 December, where States and others came together to announce bold, new measures to ease pressure on host countries, boost refugee self-reliance, and search for solutions. In addition to pledges on resettlement, Ireland announced that it will increase funding to UNHCR and expand the community sponsorship programme.

Meanwhile, the Irish private sector and civil society also made commitments to assist refugees with employment, training and further education.

“Faced with the largest flows of displaced people since the Second World War, it is vital that we act – collectively, determinedly and urgently, to implement the Global Compact on Refugees” said David Stanton T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration.

 “It is important that Ireland continues to play its part in acting as a safe haven for people in need of protection and humanitarian support. This new phase of the IRPP will take up to 2900 people between 2020 and 2023 through a combination of resettlement and community sponsors


What pledges were made by the Irish government and civil society at the forum?


3.7 million refugee children are out of school. Just 63% attend primary school and 24% secondary school. For girls the challenges are even more acute, as they are only half as likely to enroll in secondary school as their male peers.

The Irish government has pledged to scale up funding to education with a focus on girls education and education in emergencies and protracted crisis with €250m in funding over the next 5 years.

Meanwhile, six of Ireland's eight Universities have pledged a minimum of 104 scholarships over the next academic year 2020-21.


Resettlement is a vital protection tool that protects the most at risk refugees. However, of the world's 26 million refugees, only a very small number will ever be resettled. Of the estimated 1.2 million refugees identified as being in need of resettlement in 2018, only 55,692 were actually resettled.

Ireland's continued commitment to resettlement, including its community sponsorship programme, is a vital lifeline for those people facing heightened risks in the countries they flee to.


Active conflict and political uncertainties continue to drive significant displacement. The Syrian conflict has contributed to the greatest increase in the numbers of forcibly displaced in the last decade. But conflicts in other areas also contributed to this rise, including Iraq, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, as well as the massive flow of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh at the end of 2017.

Supporting conditions in countries of origin so that refugees can return in safety and dignity needs action on peace building and development. Ireland has pledged to support UN peacebuilding by funding the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) with a commitment of at least €4.5m up until at least 2022.

Sustainable Funding

After a decade in which the number of displaced persons has reached record highs, the humanitarian needs of those affected by war and persecution have never been greater

Ireland has pledged €15.5m to UNHCR in 2020 and further committed to providing 0.7% of Gross National Income in official developmental assistance by 2030. In line with Ireland’s development policy ‘A better World’, this funding will be targeted at the furthest behind first.

Private Sector

Despite having qualifications and experience, refugees and asylum-seekers in Ireland often struggle to gain employment. Research shows that refugees and asylum-seekers face greater challenges in accessing the job market when compared to other immigrant groups.

The Open Doors initiative has pledged to provide skills development programmes to at least 50 people, paid work placements for a minimum of 20 people, and secure employment for at least 50 people.