ILO and UNHCR commit to decent work for refugees, displaced people and host communities
GENEVA – At the end of 2022, there were 108.4 million people forced to flee from their homes, according to an annual flagship report by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. With 67 per cent of those displaced in protracted situations, an inclusive world of work is urgently needed to promote their rights, dignity and self-reliance and achieve social justice, resilience and peace.
The ILO has been engaged in the protection of refugee workers since its inception in 1919. Further supporting Members impacted by forced displacement, the ILO adopted the Guiding Principles on the Access of Refugees and Other Forcibly Displaced Persons to the Labour Market in 2016 and Recommendation 205 on Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience in 2017. In that same year, an agreement was signed by the ILO and UNHCR to expand their longstanding collaboration to create durable solutions for refugees, other forcibly displaced people, and host communities.
This third Joint Action Plan (JAP) lays out an array of activities for 2023-2025 with three mutually reinforcing overarching goals: (1) improved governance of access to the labour market and decent work; (2) strengthened implementation of rights related to decent work; and (3) increased opportunities for jobs, skills and lifelong learning, income, and livelihoods.
The JAP is a result of six regional dialogues attended by over 180 staff members at country, regional and global level of both agencies. These consultations served to reflect on lessons learned during previous years of collaboration and explore potential areas of strengthened complementary action. The Action Plan includes new thematic areas of work, such as climate change and digital labour platforms, to better respond to contemporary mobility challenges and the future of work.
To support each organization in better identifying opportunities for collaboration, an ILO 101 Guide and a UNHCR 101 Guide have been created to further understand our respective mandates, approaches, and activities related to supporting decent work for the forcibly displaced and their host communities.
Leading up to the second Global Refugee Forum in December 2023, a joint high-level meeting will be held later this year to discuss concrete and immediate steps to implement this action plan.