Advocacy is a key element in UNHCR activities to protect refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people and stateless people. It is a cornerstone of protection strategies, used in combination with activities such as information dissemination, monitoring and negotiation. These can help transform policies and services on national, regional or global levels to better protect people for whom UNHCR bears responsibility.
In both countries of asylum and countries of origin, UNHCR works within national political, economic, and social structures that directly affect the lives of refugees and other people of concern to bring policies, practices and laws into compliance with international standards.
In situations of forced displacement, UNHCR employs advocacy to influence governments and other decision-makers, non-governmental partners and the public at large to adopt practices ensuring the protection of those of concern to UNHCR.
Assessing Global Needs
In 2009, UNHCR rolled out worldwide a Global Needs Assessment (GNA) aimed at determining the real needs of refugees and internally displaced people, the costs of meeting those needs and the consequences of any gaps. The GNA is now an integral part of how UNHCR maps and plans its operations around the globe.
The GNA started as a pilot project in 2008 in eight countries – Cameroon, Ecuador, Georgia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Yemen and Zambia – and found that there were gaps in several areas, including shelter, health, education, food security, sanitation and the prevention of sexual violence. Nearly a third of those unmet needs were basic and essential services.
The Global Needs Assessment is a blueprint for planning and action and allows donors to have a very accurate picture of what is needed and the impact of their support.