2021 UNHCR-NGO Monthly Consultations
Following-up on the model of weekly/monthly NGO Consultations on the COVID-19 response held in 2020, and in lieu of the usual UNHCR-NGO Global Consultations, the UNHCR Partnership and Coordination Service (UNHCR/PCS) and ICVA co-organized a series of Monthly Consultations with NGOs in 2021.
The overall objective of those monthly Consultations was to support an enabling environment for NGOs and UNHCR to exchange on operational, policy and advocacy priorities in a safe space.
On this page, you will find:
- The list of past meetings and an executive summary of each session.
- Background materials and guidance documents related to the topics discussed.
Session 10: COVID-19 Vaccinations (01 December)
Session 9: Resettlement and Complementary pathways (03 November)
Session 8: Climate Action: Disaster preparedness and response (29 September)
Session 7: NGOs and the Protection of LGBTIQ+ People in Forced Displacement: Addressing the Blind Spot (28 July 2021)
Session 6: Preparations for the High-Level Officials Meeting (HLOM) and the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) follow-up (30 June 2021)
Session 5: Child Protection (02 June 2021)
Session 4: Countering xenophobia, racism, and discrimination and Update on World Refugee Day (28 April 2021)
Session 3: Discussion on UNHCR’s reforms of the framework for funded partnerships (30 March 2021)
Session 2 : Dialogue between NGOs and the High Commissioner for Refugees (24 February 2021)
Session 1: Operationalizing UNHCR’s Strategic Framework on Climate Action (27 January 2021)
- Dr. Ling Kituyi, Head of Staff and Wellbeing Service, UNHCR, with Heiko Hering, Senior Public Health Officer, Staff Health and Wellbeing Service, UNHCR and Ignazio Matteini, Principal Liaison Advisor, Staff Health and Wellbeing Service, UNHCR
- Apollo Gabazira, Uganda Country Director, CARE
- Jerry Mbokani Lukendo, Steering Committee Member, RELON Uganda
The consultation focused on COVID-19 vaccinations, particularly on the UN vaccination campaign and promoting the distribution and uptake of vaccines among humanitarian staff and vulnerable populations in refugee camps and humanitarian contexts. An update on the roll-out of the UN COVID-19 Vaccination Program and on CARE’s vaccination program, highlighting challenges regarding vaccine hesitancy and strategies to overcome them, was provided. Insights on challenges and recommendations to overcoming barriers to vaccine access in refugee communities were shared. Participants joined the discussion and asked questions related to refugees' access to vaccination, vaccine hesitancy, as well as vaccine uptake among NGO staff. The consultation also counted with the participation of two staff members from the World Health Organization (WHO).
- David Manicom, Special Advisor, Resettlement and Complementary Pathways, UNHCR
- Michelle Alfaro, Senior Resettlement and Complementary Pathways Coordinator, UNHCR
- Martin Anderson, Direction of International Programs & Geneva Representative, RefugePoint
The consultation focused on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways, in connection to the Three-Year Strategy, Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, opportunities, challenges and the EU High-Level Forum on providing protection to Afghans at risk, including current access challenges linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The consultations particularly drew on the Three-Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways, mandated in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), with 10 years objectives and the vision that third country solutions will be expanded with by late 2028, with 3 million refugees benefitting from effective protection and solutions through resettlement (1 million) in 50 resettlement countries as well as complementary pathways (2 million). Additionality, quality, quantity, equity, transparency, and accountability of third country solutions were the key elements that shaped the exchanges between UNHCR and NGOs. Questions around livelihoods and economic support, advocacy on resettlements, responsibility-sharing and better-quality resettlement, local governments support and more flexible/resilient response to urgent situations, were especially discussed.
- Andrew Harper, UNHCR Senior Advisor on Climate Action, UNHCR
- Robin Ellis, Deputy Director of Division of Emergency, Security and Supply, UNHCR
- Ezekiel Simperingham, Global Lead, Migration and Displacement, IFRC
- Benedetta Gualandi, Humanitarian Program Lead and Resilience Advisor, Oxfam South Africa
The consultation focused on the connections between displacement, migration, and the climate crisis, with contributions from UNHCR, Oxfam South Africa and IFRC. It particularly focused on operational response, oriented preparedness, and the enabling environment – particularly the policy framework for the protection and solutions of climate-induced displaced population. Objective 2.3 of UNHCR Strategic Framework for Climate Action and UNHCR’s role in disaster response as well as UNHCR’s emergency response to the Idai Cyclone were particularly highlighted. The discussion also covered the role of NGOs when working with governments in disaster risk reduction; anticipatory approaches in addressing disaster displacement, especially forecast-based anticipatory financing. Lastly, the “Anticipatory Action” priority area of IFRC, notably in IDP contexts and IFRC’s report on “Forecast-based financing and disaster displacement: action early to reduce the humanitarian impacts of displacement” was also presented.
Session 7 NGOs and the Protection of LGBTIQ+ People in Forced Displacement: Addressing the Blind Spot (GRF) follow-up
- Machtelt De Vriese, Senior Community-based Protection Advisor, Field Protection Service, Division of International Protection (UNHCR)
- Melanie Nathan, Executive Director (African Human Rights Coalition)
- Galo Quizanga, Global Director of Economic Inclusion (HIAS)
The consultation focused on the importance of understanding and addressing the protection concerns experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people in forced displacement contexts and briefed participants on the June 2021 Global Roundtable on “Protection and Solutions for LGBTIQ+ People in Forced Displacement”, including its outcomes. Based on concrete recommendations from the Global Roundtable, the discussion particularly reflected on those recommendations addressed to NGOs which include the need to enhance safe and inclusive services for LGBTIQ+; capacity-building; partnership with civil society including LGBTIQ+ support organisations and initiatives; and ethical data collection and management. Based on responsibility and accountability at organisational level, enhanced protection for LGBTIQ+ forcibly displaced people requires a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approach through implementation of the recommendations set forward at the Global Roundtable. It is important for UNHCR and NGOs to consider where changes can be made in various programmes to ensure they are safe and inclusive, and how to strategize together to address the protection risks experienced by LGBTIQ+ forcibly displaced people.
Session 6 Preparations for the High-Level Officials Meeting (HLOM) and the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) follow-up
- Perveen Ali, Senior Policy Adviser, GCR Coordination Team (UNHCR)
- Ziad Ayad, Senior Policy Officer, GCR Coordination Team (UNHCR)
- Daniela Reale, Co-chair (Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts)
- Jarrod Clyne, Senior Human Rights Advisor (International Disability Alliance)
The consultation focused on the preparations for the December 2021 High-Level Officials Meeting (HLOM), including NGOs reporting on their experience with pledges implementation and stocktaking, the next steps in the lead-up to the HLOM, matching pledges and potential entry points for NGOs to engage with the HLOM process. In particular, NGOs presented their analysis of pledges on child protection and disability while providing related recommendations to enhance implementation of those pledges. Self-reliance and Legal aid were also a key focus during those consultations. The discussion was also built on the results of a survey submitted to participants ahead of the consultations, the results of which are shared separately with participants.
- Grainne O’Hara, Director of the Division of International Protection (UNHCR)
- Alison Sutton, Global Director Child Protection (Save the Children)
- Amanda Melville, Senior Advisor, Child Protection, Child Protection Unit (UNHCR)
- Iman Al-Aqrabawi, Intervention Services Manager (Jordan River Foundation)
- Mercy Otieno, Outreach Case Manager (Awareness Against Human Trafficking)
The consultation focused on ways of improving child protection capacity, despite the numerous challenges caused by, inter alia, the lack of funding, national capacity and advocacy gaps, all of which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The consultation also drew upon the upcoming UNHCR data and analysis report based on inputs from all UNHCR operations on gaps in child protection over the past six years. Participants also exchanged on how to ensure child protection minimum standards and child participation in programming, advocate for a multisectoral approach and multi-year funding as well as to ensure UNHCR and NGOs in the field have access to guidance and expertise and to capacity building. Additionally, UNHCR and NGOs reflected on their community-based protection work, linked with localization.
- Pauline Eluere, Communication Officer, Global Communications Service (UNHCR)
- Caroline Harper Jantuah, Senior Inclusion and Diversity Advisor (UNHCR)
- Valerie Svobodova, Senior Liaison Officer, Human Rights Liaison Unit, Division of International Protection (UNHCR)
- Gloria Kivuva, Communications Manager, East Africa Regional Bureau (Islamic Relief Worldwide)
The consultation opened with disseminating information on the 2021 World Refugee Day (20 June). In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, this year will focus on refugee inclusion, particularly in Health and Education and Sports. The consultation then focused on UNHCR and NGOs prevention efforts and response to xenophobia, racism, and discrimination faced by refugees, forcibly displaced and stateless populations. Based on recent policies such as UNHCR Guidance on Racism and Xenophobia and Human Rights Engagement Strategy as well as NGO guidance, initiatives and field experiences, participants exchanged on concrete ways to tackle racism and other forms of discrimination. In addition, the discussion stressed internal work and culture challenges to identify, speak about and address racism and other forms of discrimination and efforts to promote more diversity and inclusion within our organizations.
- Ritu Shroff, Director, Division of Strategic Planning and Results (UNHCR)
- Robert Hurt, Deputy Director, Division of Strategic Planning and Results (UNHCR)
- Jeremy Rempel, Head of Humanitarian Financing (ICVA)
The consultation focused on the progress made in 2020 on UNHCR reforms to improve the framework for funded partnerships, particularly on formalization of agreements, implementation and monitoring. It also looked at current reform priorities going forward. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the reforms started being implemented, the discussion stressed the need for consistency in terms of reporting, personnel costs, flexibility in partnership agreement, and risk assessment categories. Ongoing work that includes partnership opportunities for small and refugee-led organizations was also discussed.
- Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
- Ignacio Packer, Executive Director (ICVA)
The consultation focused on UNHCR and NGO partnership developments in 2020, and priorities for 2021 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of partnership developments, 2020 was a difficult year for humanitarian actors, but also a year of opportunities to strengthen UNHCR-NGOs partnerships with various exchanges. In line with UNHCR’s decentralization, Regional NGO Consultations will be convened in 2021, while there will be no consultation at global level this year. UNHCR also highlighted that 2020 also witnessed deepened relationships with Faith-Based-Organisations (FBOs) and Refugee-led-organisations (RLOs) in advancing the localization agenda. Another notable development is partnership reforms, such as greater budgetary flexibility and shortening the partnership project agreements, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the partnership.
As a key priority in 2021, participants stressed the need to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines for all people on the move. Emphasis should be equally put on the short-term effects of the pandemic, for example regarding the access to vaccinations, and long-term socio-economic impacts. The discussion also highlighted some of the most negative impacts of containment measures taken by some State actors, including on access to international protection and durable solutions (e.g. border closures, pushbacks, interruption of education for millions of children, a rise in gender-based violence (GBV), and a drop in resettlement departures). UNHCR and NGOs, as partners, recognized the need to be more vocal together, notably through advocacy for resource mobilization to address, inter alia, the increase of GBV and access to education for refugee children; and joint advocacy for the inclusion of displaced populations and stateless persons in national vaccination plans but also beyond the health area, in existing mechanisms and services.
- Mr. Andrew Harper, Special Advisor on Climate Action (UNHCR)
- Ms. Madeline Garlick, Senior Legal Coordinator, Division of International Protection (UNHCR)
- Ms. Kayly Ober, Senior Advocate and Program Manager of the climate displacement program at Refugees International, speaking on behalf of the Climate, Migration & Displacement Platform (CMDP)
- Ms. Natalie Topa, Regional Resilience and Livelihoods Coordinator for East Africa and Great Lakes Region (Danish Refugee Council)
The consultation focused on operationalizing UNHCR’s Strategic Framework on Climate Action. Mr. Andrew Harper began by highlighting three key pillars of the UNHCR’s Strategic Framework on Climate Action, and next steps of operationalizing it. Ms. Madeline Garlick provided information around the legal and normative foundation of the Framework, calling on extending partnerships with relevant fora including legal experts. Ms. Kayly Ober, representing over 30 civil society organizations at the Climate, Migration and Displacement Platform (CMDP), stressed that NGOs are willing to join hands in the actual implementation of the Framework from the beginning, requesting UNHCR to provide a timeline for its implementation. Last speaker, Ms. Natalie Topa shared good practices in the East Africa and Great Lakes Region where DRC has provided locals with tools and skills to build resilient households, farms and landscapes. The discussion ended with contributions from various NGO participants about the development of Regional Plans of Actions and suggestions to organize regional workshops to follow up the implementation of the Framework, as well as encouraging UNHCR’s continuous engagement in the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 (COP26) and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.