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UNHCR Regional Consultations with NGOs in Europe

In collaboration with the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), the UNHCR Regional Bureau for Europe is organizing the 2023 Regional Consultations with NGOs on 19-20 September 2023 in Geneva.

Building on existing Regional Dialogues launched in July 2020, as well as previous Regional and Global NGO Consultations in 2021 and 2022, these discussions will create a space for an integrated dialogue centred around 3 interconnected issues: 

  • Inclusion in national systems as a cornerstone for solutions
  • Role of organizations led by refugees, other forcibly displaced and stateless people
  • Gender equality.

This webpage will be updated with further information as it becomes available. 

Modalities and registration

The 2023 Regional Consultations with NGOs will be held in person at the Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG). Attendance is limited by space constraints.  

These Consultations are open to NGOs headquartered in Europe, with regional, national, and/or local geographical coverage. Organizations led by forcibly displaced and stateless persons are strongly encouraged to register.

Due to the limited space, priority will be given to organizations that work on forced displacement in Europe and:

  • have demonstrated expertise and experience in the main topics of discussion for this Regional Consultation (Inclusion in national systems);
  • have engaged in an active role in preparations of the Regional Consultation and/or have an active role during the Regional Consultations (e.g., as a speaker, a moderator, or other);
  • have participated in the Europe Regional UNHCR-NGO Consultations and dialogues in 2021 and 2022;
  • are NGOs that are ICVA members and/or partners of UNHCR in 2022 and/or 2023;
  • are organizations led by forcibly displaced and stateless persons.

Selected organizations based on the priorities above will receive a confirmation email. 

This is an in-person event. Due to space constraints, only individuals who received a confirmation email will be able to attend.


See the agenda on this page or download the detailed agenda and speakers list.


Tuesday, 19 September

08:00-09:00 – Welcome coffee and pick up of badges

09:00-10:00 – Opening remarks and setting the scene

Davos-style conversation between UNHCR and ICVA senior management on the overarching themes of the Regional Consultations.

10:00-10:30 – Coffee break

10:30-12:00 – Inclusion in Europe: State-of-play and priorities for UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Europe

This session will focus on challenges and opportunities for socio-economic inclusion of forcibly displaced and stateless people in Europe by providing an overview of UNHCR’s inclusion priorities and initiatives in the Europe region, presenting existing data, discussing legal and de facto inclusion barriers and how these can be addressed, and identifying opportunities for jointly strengthening effective inclusion. 

12:00-13:00 – Non-discrimination and social cohesion – cornerstones of inclusion

Concrete measures that strengthen social cohesion and peaceful coexistence between refugees and host communities, and between different refugee communities, are critical to promoting the effective inclusion of refugees in their host communities. How do we pass messages that combat xenophobia and misinformation and promote true cohesion and the building of social ties, especially in situations where resources are scarce? How can we de-politicize and de-polarize debates about refugees and asylum, and create a sense of common objectives and shared identity? 

13:00-14:00 – Lunch break

14:00-15:30 – Parallel break-out sessions

1. Reinforcing access to social protection benefits and services

This session will demonstrate how civil society organizations can accompany forcibly displaced persons and government social protection agencies to better ensure access to national social protection benefits and services.

2. Operational guidelines on localization

This session will the draft content of UNHCR’s Operational Guidelines on Localization, gather inputs and feedback from the participants, and collect ideas on practical ways UNHCR can partner with local and national NGOs in our operations. 

3. Promoting financial inclusion and entrepreneurship

This session will present the business case for forcibly displaced and stateless persons’ access to financial and business development services and discuss how NGOs and RLOs can support financial inclusion.

15:30-16:00 – Coffee break

16:00-16:45 – Feedback to plenary

16:45-17:45 – Gender Equality: Ensuring effective access of women refugees to rights and inclusion

This plenary will focus on discussing how to support forcibly displaced and stateless women to draw on their skills and experience to contribute to their host communities while addressing gender-specific barriers hindering effective and equal access to decent work, education and social services and mitigating protection risks. Good and emerging practices on direct support to forcibly displaced and stateless women, advocacy for inclusion and generating evidence-base will help guide the discussion on the way forward. 

18:00-19:00 – Reception


Wednesday, 20 September

08:00-09:00 – Welcome coffee

09:00-10:00 – The role of organizations led by refugees, other forcibly displaced and stateless people

This plenary – led by RLOs – will focus on how refugees promote and are key actors of their own inclusion into national systems and the barriers they face in their work. How can this critical mechanism be strengthened? How can their engagement be further supported to impact decision-making? What forms of cooperation and partnership with other stakeholders are refugee-led organizations looking for and how do we create them?

10:00-10:30 – Coffee break

10:30-12:00 – Parallel break-out sessions

1. Barriers to decent work and how to overcome these

This session will focus on efforts by NGOs and RLOs to overcome barriers to decent work for forcibly displaced and stateless persons, showcasing multi-stakeholder approaches, alliances with the private sector, and good and emerging practices.

2. Arguments for and best practices in the inclusion of refugees in national education systems

This session will focus on the importance of refugee education. Participants will discuss arguments for inclusion of refugee children in national education systems and look at best practices in refugee education.

3. Community engagement and participation in decision-making processes

The participation of refugees in policies and programs that have an impact on their lives – including decision-making processes – is critical to effective inclusion. Such processes give refugees the opportunity to be actively involved in discussions and decisions that impact their daily lives, including on access to education, health services, work and housing.  This session will explore good practices in this regard, with concrete examples from across Europe.

12:00-13:00 – Lunch break

12:00-13:00 – Lunch brown bag on fundraising opportunities for local organizations

This session will be an opportunity for NGOs and RLOs to learn more about UNHCR’s Special Grants Agreement and Innovation Award as two concrete opportunities for funding and capacity-sharing, including through the experiences of several organizations that have engaged in these mechanisms.

13:00-13:45 – Feedback to plenary

13:45-14:45 – Looking towards the Global Refugee Forum

In the lead-up to the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in December 2023, this session aims to consult NGOs on the preparations made to date and opportunities for engagement, including practical support to develop and submit pledges. It will also be an opportunity to hear from NGOs on the progress they have made in implementing past pledges as well as their plans for the upcoming GRF.

14:45-15:45 – UNHCR programming and partnership reform with a focus on project reporting, oversight and monitoring solution (PROMS)

This session will give an update on UNHCR's programming and partnership reforms including new corporate systems that will be introduced in the second half of 2023 and early-2024. The session also includes a short introduction to UNHCR’s new Partnership framework agreements in the context of multi-year strategic planning.  

15:45-16:00 – Concluding remarks

Contact us

For any queries please contact:

  • Aslak Solumsmoen ([email protected]), Senior Inter-Agency Coordination Officer, UNHCR Regional Bureau for Europe
  • Nora Sturm ([email protected]), Inter-Agency Coordination Officer, UNHCR Regional Bureau for Europe
  • Gabriela Miranda ([email protected]), Senior Policy Officer, ICVA.