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From Global Goals to Local Actions


From Global Goals to Local Actions

29 December 2020 Also available in:

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which sets out a plan of action based on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ultimate mission is to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.

The 2030 agenda also calls for a world that  “leaves no one behind”, believing refugees and displaced people should be involved in sustainable development actions.  It’s a natural match since many of the displaced, driven by a burning desire to rebuild lives, are already doing their part in creating a more sustainable future.


Deilys, who fled Venezuela for Ecuador in 2017, now cooks and sells desserts at fairs for a living, thanks to the seed money from UNHCR's Graduation Model.

Refugees are taking actions

Backed by seed money from UNHCR’s Graduation ModeI (UGM), 36-year-old Deilys opened her own business in Ecuador after fleeing Venezuela with her children. With aims supporting the No Poverty goal (SDG 1), UGM helps train, finance and mentor entrepreneurs like Deilys. “We don’t have everything, but we have no debts and are never behind on the rent,” she says.

Meanwhile, thanks to a scholarship awarded by the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI), a programme run jointly by the German Government and UNHCR with a mission aligned with the Quality Education goal (SDG4), former refugee Kobra Yusufy, 27, was able to return to Afghanistan to study software engineering at Kabul University. She dreams of teaching young people to use computers and helping refugee children to obtain quality education. “I know what it’s like to suffer from a poor education so I want to offer free courses for students,” says Kobra.



The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.