The 2030 Agenda – which consists of a Declaration, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets – seeks to ensure that all nations and all people everywhere are reached and included in achieving the SDGs.
It offers a universal, integrated, transformative and human rights-based vision for sustainable development, peace and security, which is applicable to all people and all countries, including the most developed.
In a world increasingly shaped by climate change, poverty and conflict, the SDGs cannot be achieved without taking into account the rights and needs of refugees, internally displaced and stateless people.
In the lead-up to the 2030 Agenda, we worked to ensure that all persons of concern to UNHCR were included in its guiding vision by engaging with a range of other humanitarian agencies – mainly OCHA, IOM, UNICEF and UNESCO – as well as the Secretary-General’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, the Special Representative on Migrants and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Development.
The principles that underpin the 2030 Agenda, notably leaving no one behind and ensuring human rights for all, provide a powerful basis for inclusion. The Declaration implicitly and explicity notes the need to include refugees:
Paragraph 4 pledges “that no one will be left behind and that Goals and targets will be met for all nations and peoples and all segments of society.”
Paragraph 23 states that “Those whose needs are reflected in the Agenda include all children, youth, persons with disabilities (of whom more than 80% live in poverty), people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants. We resolve to take further effective measures and actions, in conformity with international law, to remove obstacles and constraints, strengthen support and meet the special needs of people living in areas affected by complex humanitarian emergencies and in areas affected by terrorism.”
As outlined in our Strategic Directions 2017-2021, UNHCR will:
- Build on the commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no-one behind, and on the Sustainable Development Goals to promote the inclusion of refugees, the internally displaced and stateless people in National Development Frameworks.”
- Engage strongly with States, host communities, civil society and key national service providers to promote the inclusion of refugees, internally displaced and stateless people in mainstream national systems, including health and education, pending durable solutions to their displacement.”
UNHCR continues to advocate for accelerated and inclusive implementation of the SDGs. We are also strengthening and diversifying partnerships to bring together a broad range of actors – including the private sector – to innovate, create and mobilize solutions for forced displacement and statelessness.
UNHCR corporate position on the SDGs
The paper positions UNHCR’s normative and operational support to refugees, internally displaced and stateless people within the overall framework and aims of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. In the spirit of leaving no one behind and to bring coherence to UNHCR’s approach to the 2030 Agenda, UNHCR will pursue “inclusion” and “partnerships” as its strategic aims to secure progress for persons of concern to the High Commissioner and thereby contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. The corporate position paper also describes how UNHCR field operations may engage with key SDG and 2030 Agenda processes such as the UN Common Country Analysis and the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework. It further provides an overview of the linkages between the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). Read the UNHCR corporate position paper on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs here.
In addition to the corporate position paper, learn more about our SDG approaches:
- The Sustainable Development Goals and Addressing Statelessness
- Sustainable Development Goal 4 and Refugee Education
- Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development
The Global Compact on Refugees and the 2030 Agenda
The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) explicitly links forced displacement to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It works to ensure the inclusion of refugees and forcibly displaced people in efforts to achieve the SDGs.
Within the Global Compact on Refugees, UNHCR supports:
- Working with States, donors, UN partners and others to include refugees and host communities in their planning and policies to implement the Agenda 2030 and achieve the SDGs
- Working with countries of origin to establish conditions for voluntary repatriation
- Fostering collaboration between humanitarian and development actors from the outset of a refugee situation and in protracted situations in support of host countries and (where appropriate) countries of origin
- Leveraging development partnerships working on the SDGs
Further advance the engagement of the United Nations system, which was deeply engaged in the development process of the Global Compact. The United Nations system leverages support for the Agenda 2030 and the Global Compact. This includes the contributions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), as well as all relevant agencies to ensure operational cooperation on the ground in support of national development activities working with host communities and refugees.
While focused on refugee situations, the Global Compact recognizes the challenges posed by other displacement situations such as statelessness, internal displacement, mixed movements or displacement by sudden natural disasters and envisages support in these cases. UNHCR’s engagement in the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNDCF) furthers the Global Compact’s objectives and the pledges made at the Global Refugee Forum in 2019 for example on:
- securing more support for hosting countries
- ensuring linked up humanitarian and development programming
- advancing the inclusion of refugees in national and UN development strategies
Find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Compact on Refugees in this document.