Refugees – over half of whom are children – are often hosted in marginalised areas where infrastructure is threadbare, development investment is minimal, and access to essential services is limited not just for refugee families, but also for the communities that host them.
UNHCR and UNICEF share a common vision that all refugee and host community children deserve a fair chance in life. We are determined to realise this vision born out of the Global Compact on Refugees, adopted by UN member states in 2018.
To achieve our vision of a world where all children, including refugee and stateless children are safe from harm and able to learn, grow and thrive, in February 2023 UNHCR and UNICEF signed a Strategic Collaboration Framework. This Framework sets out our joint ambition to promote the inclusion of displaced children and their families in national plans, budgets, datasets and service delivery systems. It is applicable globally and builds on strong collaboration and learning from the Blueprint for Joint Action for Refugee Children, jointly implemented between 2020 and 2022. The framework commits both organizations to a series of goals on inclusion of children in national systems – with specific commitments across education, child protection, water and sanitation, social protection and data, and on elimination of childhood statelessness, all by 2030. It also supports the continuation and strengthening of UNHCR and UNICEF collaboration in other areas, including nutrition and health.
Globally, there are 32 million refugees, including more than 12 million refugee children – and these numbers keep growing. Refugee children are some of the most vulnerable in the world. They often live in marginalized areas, where infrastructure is threadbare, development investment is minimal and access to essential services is limited. Strengthening national services and ensuring that refugees can benefit on par with nationals is in line with the commitment to Leave No One Behind. It also means that host communities benefit from better services, improved social cohesion, and the contributions that refugees make to society and the economy, until they can return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity.