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A mother takes care of her baby in her hammock in Pintolandia refugee camp, Brazil. © UNHCR/Vincent Tremeau

The Global Report presents the work carried out by UNHCR in 2019 to protect and improve the lives of tens of millions of people of concern—refugees, returnees, internally displaced people, stateless persons, and others of concern. It highlights the year’s achievements, as well as challenges faced by the organization and its partners, in attempting to respond to multiple life-threatening crises and ever-growing displacement and humanitarian needs.

The Global Report 2019 is complemented by 2019 Global Trends, setting out comprehensive data on populations of concern to UNHCR.

in 2019

A Sudanese asylum-seeker at UNHCR’s humanitarian centre near Agadez, Niger. © UNHCR/John Wendle

As 2019 drew to a close, we reached the end of a decade in which forced displacement increased exponentially. The number of people of concern to the Office rose from 36.4 million people in 2009 to over 86.5 million people at the end of 2019. The number of refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility almost doubled, from 10.4 to 20.2 million, and internal displacement grew by nearly 60% from 27.1 million people to 43.5 million.  

People of Concern 2019 inforgraphic

*The figure of people of concern to UNHCR includes people who have been forcibly displaced (refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people); those who have found a durable solution (returnees) within the previous year; stateless persons; and other groups of concern to whom UNHCR has extended its protection or provided assistance on a humanitarian basis. This is why the number of people of concern to UNHCR is different from the figure in the Global Trends report of 79.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide – a figure that includes refugees and other displaced people not covered by UNHCR’s mandate and excludes other categories such as returnees and non-displaced stateless people.

Key developments in 2019 

The Global Compact on Refugees

The Global Compact on Refugees

There was important progress towards the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees in 2019, its first year of implementation, including through operational achievements flowing from comprehensive refugee responses; the convening of the first Global Refugee Forum, one of the Compact’s key arrangements for burden- and responsibility-sharing; and the establishment of mechanisms for follow-up and review of the Compact. 

Strengthening UNHCR

Strengthening UNHCR

2019 saw the completion of a first phase of reforms to strengthen the organization and its capacity to operate in a new decade, including: strengthening the field through decentralization and regionalization; strengthening risk management and operational integrity, including to address sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment; and strengthening partnerships. 

UNHCR’s engagement in situations of internal displacement

UNHCR’s engagement in situations of internal displacement

With 43.5 million people internally displaced as a result of violence, armed conflict and human rights violations in 2019, UNHCR issued a new IDP policy to enhance its work alongside partners and affected States, supported by important changes to internal systems, processes and tools to ensure more predictability and effectiveness.

   Climate Action in 2019

Climate Action in 2019

With climate-related causes a growing driver of displacement, UNHCR continued to support operational responses in cooperation with governments and partners, stepped up its work on legal and normative developments, and contributed to relevant policy fora such as the Platform on Disaster Displacement and the Task Force on Displacement. UNHCR also prioritized its efforts to address climate and environmental issues in areas hosting refugees and IDPs, including through increased access to sustainable and clean energy, and by mitigating UNHCR’s own environmental footprint.

Key results and achievements in 2019

Over the year, with the support of and in cooperation with host countries, committed donors, and other partners, UNHCR worked to safeguard fundamental rights, provide lifesaving support and build better futures for millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless persons.

Once stateless, children from the coastal community of Burundians living in Kenya are now able to enjoy their full rights as Kenyan citizens.© UNHCR/Tobin Jones

Safeguarding fundamental rights

Safeguarding fundamental rights

Responding with lifesaving support

Responding with lifesaving support

A Somali woman carries her baby from a plane after being evacuated to safety from Tripoli, Libya, to Rome, Italy. © UNHCR/Alessandro Penso

Um Nour, a Syrian returnee, was able to open a repair shop in Aleppo thanks to the grant she received from UNHCR’s livelihoods programme. © UNHCR/Antwan Chnkdji

Building better futures

Building better futures  infographic

Rohingya children participate in “Essence of Learning” activities in one of Caritas’s child-friendly spaces in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. © UNHCR/Antoine Tardy

Populations of Concern to UNHCR

Populations of concern to UNHCR

Regional summaries

Funding UNHCR’s programmes in 2019

Funding UNHCR’s programmes in 2019

In response to new, protracted or worsening crises generating greater needs, UNHCR’s 2019 needs-based budget came to $8.686 billion.

Total contributions came to $4.127 billion, a record level. This included $659.5 million in unearmarked funding, the most valuable funding to UNHCR as it is contributed without restrictions on its use.

Expenditure came to $4.415 billion, a 4% increase in comparison with 2018.

Somali high school students share a joke during computer lessons at Ifo Secondary School in Dadaab, Kenya’s largest and oldest refugee camp. © UNHCR/Vania Turner

For more information visit the Global Focus website

Learn more about how UNHCR’s work in 2019 impacted the lives of millions asylum-seekers, refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless persons by reading UNHCR’s Global Report 2019 or visiting the Global Focus website.

The Global Focus website is UNHCR’s main operational reporting platform for donors. Regularly updated, it complements and augments information in the Global Report with greater detail on UNHCR operations, data on key operational themes and objectives, and in-depth information on UNHCR’s budgets, funding and expenditure.