UNHCR to launch first Global Refugee Forum

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has announced the first ever Global Refugee Forum, which will take place on 17 and 18 December 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The first-ever Global Refugee Forum, a world meeting on refugees, is taking place from 16 to 18 December 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Government of Switzerland will jointly host this global meeting at the Palais des Nations, the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The global conference, to be attended by leaders and ministers, is the first high-level gathering to follow up on the practical implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees, which was affirmed by the UN General Assembly in New York in December 2018.

The aim of the Forum is to give impetus towards achieving the Compact’s objectives and to translate international solidarity into concrete action. Refugees will be at the forefront of the Forum, having been involved and consulted throughout the preparations.

The three days will showcase high-level, significant pledges and contributions and promote the exchange of good practices that call on States, refugees, development actors, the private sector, UN entities, civil society organizations, academics and faith leaders, among others, to play a part. Monday, 16 December, is the day of preliminary and special events. Tuesday, 17 December, and Wednesday, 18 December, are the two official days of the Global Refugee Forum.

The current schedule of the Forum on 16 to 18 December can be found here. Please check for regular updates.

Specifically for the media professionals travelling to Geneva to cover the Forum, here are a few practical tips to facilitate smooth entry to the Palais des Nations:

• Please make sure you have applied for press accreditation from the United Nations Information Service at Geneva and that your accreditation has been approved (for more details, please see Accreditation and Registration section of this advisory).

• Please pick up your badges early at the Palais des Nations, Pregny entrance, 8-12 Avenue de la Paix: either on Friday, 13 December, from 07:30 to 18:00, or on Monday, 16 December, from 07:30 to 18:00. The badges can be also collected on Tuesday and Wednesday at the same times (07:00 to 18:00).

• Please do not bring luggage to the Palais des Nations.

• On 17 December, please arrive early at Pregny gate as the queues to get through security are expected to be long. The Pregny gate will be open as of 07:00. After passing through Pregny gate, please proceed to door A17 or door E40 to enter the building. From there please proceed towards the X-ray security point in the A building (near room XI).
Please consult the maps of the Palais des Nations showing outdoor access points included in this advisory (Annex 1 and 2).
Also, please do not hesitate to ask for directions once inside the building. UN staff and volunteers will be present and ready to assist.

Security arrangements on 17 December

Given the heightened security measures at the Palais des Nations on 17 December, all media representatives (i.e. both those permanently accredited to the Palais des Nations and those visiting Geneva to cover the Global Refugee Forum) must pass through X-ray security points. Only media representatives permanently accredited to the Palais des Nations with UNOG ID badges can also use the X-ray security point near room VIII.

UNOG ID cards and visitors press passes, must be worn visibly at all times. This will help facilitate smooth passage through the X-ray machines.

For further, detailed arrangements during 17 December, please see items 4, 5 and 6 of this advisory.

Security arrangements on 16 and 18 December

There are NO special security measures in place for 16 and 18 December. For those days, visiting media representatives must present their press badge at the Pregny gate and are subject to normal screening at the point of entry.

Those permanently accredited to the Palais des Nations with UNOG ID badges will be able to enter the Palais as usual, without being screened.

On 17 and 18 December, UNHCR will be operating the press centre of the Global Refugee Forum in rooms IX and VIII from 07:00 to 19:00.

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Here are some of the highlights of the Forum. Correspondents are kindly invited to cover the following events, listed in chronological order:

Monday 16 December – preliminary and special events, and spotlight sessions at the Global Refugee Forum

1. Three Regional Events showcasing the Global Compact for Refugees in action and calling for an increased international response: 1) the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework in Central America (MIRPS in Spanish), 2) the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa, and 3) the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. Respective programmes for these events and their respective timings on Monday 16 December are here.

2. Arrival of the special SCNF “Solidarity” train from Paris to Gare Cornavin in Geneva (Monday 16 December, 12:00, Gare Cornavin, Geneva) – After travelling through France and stopping in 5 cities in France: Paris, Bordeaux, Clermont Ferrand, Lyon and Strasbourg, the Solidarity Train #WithRefugees will complete its journey in Geneva for the opening of the Global Refugee Forum. The passengers arriving on this train will include a refugee representative, the French government’s interministerial Delegate for reception and integration of refugees, the Secretary General of the SNCF and representatives of the French Foundations supporting the project.

3. Press conference – Private sector engagement in refugee response (Monday 16 December, 17:00, Press Room 3, Palais des Nations) – The private sector is playing an increasingly important role in providing opportunities for refugees, from employment to providing critical goods and services. A number of high-profile business leaders are due to take part in the Global Refugee Forum. Speakers at this press conference include Tolga Öncu (IKEA Retail Operations Manager, Ingka Group), John Goodwin (CEO, The LEGO Foundation), Hamdi Ulukaya (CEO, Chobani and Founder, Tent Partnership for Refugees), Joakim Reiter (Vodafone, Group External Affairs Director) and Dominique Hyde (Director of UNHCR’s Division of External Relations). The focus will be how businesses can be involved in responding to refugee crises and searching for solutions.

Tuesday 17 December – first day of the Global Refugee Forum

4. Media/Photo opportunity – VIP Arrivals at the Global Refugee Forum (Tuesday 17 December, 08:00 – 09:00, Hall 14, Palais des Nations)

High-level heads of delegations of the co-host Switzerland and co-convening countries Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Germany, Pakistan and Turkey, as well as the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, are scheduled to arrive at the Global Refugee Forum through Hall 14 between 0800h and 0900h. It is strongly recommended that interested photographers, videographers and reporters arrive at the Palais des nations (Pregny gate) as of 07:00, make their way through doors A17 and E40 and metal detectors located before Room XI on the 3rd Floor, then enter the Salle de Pas Perdus and take the Lausanne side corridor along the Assembly Hall to reach the dedicated media zone in Hall 14. UN Security will be checking press badges before allowing access to the dedicated media zone in Hall 14 for this media opportunity.

The VIP arrivals to the Forum will be carried live through the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). A webcast will be available on the webpage, www.unhcr.org/global-refugee-forum.html, and via the UN Webcast Service, at https://www.un.org/webcast/index.asp.

5. Opening of the Global Refugee Forum, (Tuesday 17 December, 09:00 – 12:30, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations) – The opening plenary will include remarks by the UN Secretary-General, an address by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, statements by the high-level heads of delegations of the co-host Switzerland and the Forum’s co-convening countries (Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Germany, Pakistan and Turkey), and a high-level event on broadening the base of support for implementing the Global Compact, including announcements of pledges by international development actors and leading business representatives. This part of the Forum will be carried live through the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). A webcast will be available on the webpage, www.unhcr.org/global-refugee-forum.html, and via the UN Webcast Service, at https://www.un.org/webcast/index.asp.

UNHCR will provide photo coverage of the Plenary Session of the Global Refugee Forum from the floor of the Assembly Hall on 17 December. A selection of photos will be available on the same day on UNHCR’s multimedia platform, Refugees Media (https://media.unhcr.org), and can be downloaded in high resolution without logging in. UNHCR photos from the Global Refugee Forum are free of charge for use provided UNHCR and the photographer are credited.

Videographers and photographers who wish to follow the proceedings live should proceed through the Lausanne side corridor along the Assembly Hall, take staircase 16 or elevators A29 and A20 to the 5th floor, and enter dedicated area in the central gallery.

All other media representatives will be able to follow the proceedings either from the Forum’s dedicated press centre located in Room VIII and Room IX or they can do it from the 6th floor gallery on the Geneva side of the Assembly Hall by taking staircase 16 or elevators A29 and A20 to the 6th floor, and walk around to the gallery on the Geneva side.

6. Special Press Conference with UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Tuesday 17 December, 14:00 – 14:30, Press Room III, Palais des Nations) – the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi will hold a special press conference on the importance and scope of the Forum.

Wednesday 18 December – second day of the Global Refugee Forum

7. Thematic high-level dialogues, (Wednesday 18 December 09:00 – 11:00 and 11:00 – 13:00, Rooms XVII and XIX, Palais des Nations) – The second day of the Forum will feature several high-level dialogues focusing on the key themes in responses to refugee crises, including Energy and Infrastructure, Education, Jobs and Protection. Speakers will include refugees, governments, private sector, civil society, international organizations and others. Please regularly check the schedule for updates on speakers, venues, times and the agenda.

8. Technical press briefing with Susanna Moorehead, Chair of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee and Dominique Hyde, Director of UNHCR’s Division of External Relations (Wednesday 18 December, 10:00, Press Room 3, Palais des Nations) – The OECD Policy Paper on “Financing for Refugee Situations” highlights good practices and challenges around the “right” financing for refugee situations based on four country studies – Central African Republic, Colombia, Lebanon and Uganda.

9. Technical press briefing with UNHCR’s newly appointed Special Advisor on Climate Action, Andrew Harper (Wednesday 18 December, 11:30, Press Room 3, Palais des Nations) – Briefing on UNHCR’s new Sustainable Energy Strategy and the Clean Energy Challenge to ensure all refugee settlements and their host communities will have access to clean, affordable and sustainable energy by 2030.

10. Closing plenary session of the Global Refugee Forum during which a group of refugee delegates will present a joint statement reflecting on outcomes and the way forward, (Wednesday 18 December, 15:00 – 19:00, Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations) – Refugees are at the centre of all efforts, pledges and contributions to the Global Refugee Forum. The closing session will also feature refugee delegates who have participated in the process from its inception. They will offer, through a joint statement their reflections on lessons learned and recommendations for the future.

11. Closing press stake-out (Wednesday 18 December) 19:00 (TBC), Hall 14, Palais des Nations – UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi is scheduled to speak to the press at the closing of the Forum. This will take place in the stake-out area that will be set up in Hall 14. Exact time to be confirmed on 18 December.

Photo and Video Content requirements:

With the exception of the press conferences, correspondents are asked to communicate in advance any requests for access for photographers and cameramen at the Global Refugee Forum events, to the contacts listed below. Based on demand we will look at how best to facilitate, including whether pool arrangements are needed.

UNHCR will provide photo coverage of the Global Refugee Forum from 16 to 18 December. A selection of photos will be available daily, as soon as possible, on UNHCR’s multimedia platform, Refugees Media (https://media.unhcr.org). These will be available to download in high resolution without logging in. UNHCR photos from the Global Refugee Forum are free of charge for use provided UNHCR and the photographer are credited.

A live broadcast-quality feed of all proceedings in the Assembly Hall and press conferences will be available via EBU/Eurovision. A webcast will be available on the webpage: www.unhcr.org/global-refugee-forum.html.

A live feed of the proceedings can be recorded at the UN Radio Service (room S80) and in the Forum’s press centre (rooms VIII and IX). Furthermore, a webcast of most Forum’s proceedings can be followed on the webpage, www.unhcr.org/global-refugee-forum.html, and via the UN Webcast Service, at https://www.un.org/webcast/index.asp.

For further information on video arrangements please contact:

• Alexandre St-Denis, [email protected], +41 22 739 8150.

Social Media and Public Engagement

Social Media is a major thread of the Forum’s public communications, with one campaign and several different initiatives, installations and media opportunities ongoing.

The Forum’s Social Media Zone will be located in the Concordia area where high-level participants, refugees and influencers can visit for scheduled appointments only. Content will be published on UNHCR’s global social media accounts, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and TikTok.

In support of education for refugees worldwide, Sesame Street’s gregarious blue monster Grover is attending the GRF where he will interview leaders and influencers on the topic of early childhood education. This series of video interviews, filmed in the VIP Social Media Zone, will be shared on Sesame Workshop and UNHCR’s social media channels during the course of the week to highlight commitments to early childhood development. Sesame Workshop’s President of Social Impact and Philanthropy Sherrie Westin is available for media interviews. Also attending the Forum is Jad, a new Muppet character from Ahlan Simsim, a locally produced version of Sesame Street premiering across Middle East and North Africa in 2020. Jad’s story involves him leaving his home, but finding a warm welcome from his new friends in the Ahlan Simsim neighborhood. Please email [email protected] with requests.

New social media platform TikTok will be attending the Global Refugee Forum, with a stand in the Bar Serpent area in Building E. TikTok are collaborating with UNHCR in the launch of a content challenge where creators around the world are asked to upload videos in support of a specific GRF message under the hashtag #everyonecounts, from Monday 16th December. Interview requests for TikTok should be sent to UNHCR Head of Social Media Gisella Lomax, [email protected] More info here.

Twitter are also attending the Forum, largely supporting the Social Media Zone but also roaming with two Twitter Mirrors to capture messages of support from participants. In the Bar Serpent there is a Twitter exhibition featuring four knitted scarves, an outcome of a six-month advocacy and fundraising campaign, Knit For Refugees.

Public engagement campaign Everyone Counts – A new social media campaign launching on 16 December 2019, in collaboration with UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors, celebrities, celebrates the strength, resilience and skills that refugees can bring to their new communities.

Ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s will be making a tasty announcement during the Forum and speaking about their ongoing commitment to refugee advocacy across Europe, from their pop-up stall in the Bar Serpent. Founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are both available for media interviews, as is CEO Matthew McCarthy. For more information contact Nicola Simmons ([email protected]).

Accreditation and registration

Journalists travelling to Geneva to cover the Global Refugee Forum need to apply for accreditation from the United Nations Information Service at Geneva. To do so, journalists must fill out an Indico registration form using the following link: http://reg.unog.ch/e/grf and attach a number of mandatory documents, including a letter of assignment and a national press card to their individual registration form.

For questions or assistance with media accreditation, please contact the United Nations Information Service:

• François Richer, [email protected], + 41 22 917 4359
• Rhéal LeBlanc, Chief, Press and External Relations, [email protected],
+41 22 917 23 36

For other Forum-related queries please contact:

• Andrej Mahecic, [email protected], mobile +41 79 642 9709
• Liz Throssell, [email protected], mobile +41 79 337 75 91
• Nora Sturm, [email protected], mobile +41 79 337 75 74

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