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High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges, 2009

Date: 9 - 10 December 2009

High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges, 2009

Challenges for People of Concern to UNHCR in Urban Settings
Public event
Barrio "Altos de la Florida", shantytown, Bogota. An IDP child stands where one of his friends recently fell down a 50 meters high rock barrier located just next to their houses.

The third High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges took place on 9-10 December 2009 in Geneva and focused on the hurdles faced by people of concern to UNHCR in cities and other urban settings.

The Dialogue included a mix of plenary and working group sessions. Participants were encouraged to engage in free-flowing discussion and debate. Invitations were extended to member states of UNHCR’s governing Executive Committee and to observers to its Standing Committee; states with a special interest in the topic; municipal authorities; non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations; experts and people of concern to UNHCR in urban settings.

The Dialogue was preceded on 8 December by a roundtable meeting with mayors from some 20 major cities hosting sizeable refugee populations around the world. This invitation-only meeting promoted a free and frank discussion on "Humanitarian Challenges in the Context of Urbanization." It highlighted specific areas of concern and identified areas of good practice. As in previous years, the Dialogue was not structured to elicit formal or agreed outcomes. The High Commissioner delivered a summary of the discussions and proposed elements for follow up deriving from them.

The latest issue of Forced Migration Review focuses on urban displacement, with articles by a number of UNHCR officials, including High Commissioner António Guterres. Other writers include UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka (external link).

2009 Dialogue: Literature Review

A review of available literature on persons of concern in urban settings.

Mexico. Central American Refugees Jose Ismael and Leonel Antonio Diaz sell flowers in the streets of Tapachula, Mexico.

More than half the refugees UNHCR serves now live in urban areas