European Union External Action

International community gathers in Geneva to support refugees and deliver more on Global Compact

17/12/2019 - 09:42
News stories

Millions of refugees around the world are in need of assistance and protection. One year after the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), world leaders are gathering in Geneva on 17 and 18 December at the Global Refugee Forum to provide greater support to the people in need, exchange good practices and make new commitments under the Compact so that no one is left behind.

“Tomorrow I’ll give birth to my child. I hope it is a boy.” Neida, from Venezuela, was one day away of delivering her baby in a refugee centre in Cucuta, Colombia. She had gone through two miscarriages in Venezuela when, together with her husband and daughter, decided to leave the country in search of proper life conditions.

“I was scared to leave, because my country is my country, but fear wasn’t enough to stop me. I thought about my family, my daughter, to make them feel better and give them a better lifestyle.” They left to Colombia, where they are now receiving proper assistance. Neida’s baby will receive Colombian citizenship.  

She is one of the 4.5 million people who left Venezuela due to the country’s political instability, insecurity and economic collapse. It is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Latin America and one of the biggest displacement crises in the world.

From Venezuela to Syria, from South Sudan to the Democratic Republic of Congo, from Afghanistan to Myanmar, the world has witnessed several waves of forced displacement in the last years. The international community faces the challenge of supporting the host countries and increase the resilience of refugee communities.

On December 17 and 18, the EU will join world leaders, refugees, civil society, host communities, international organizations and the private sector in Geneva for the first-ever Global Refugee Forum. The event, co-hosted by UNHCR and Switzerland, will take stock of the work made so far to deliver on the main aspects of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), and put forward new strategies to improve refugee responses in the years to come.

Affirmed in New York on 17 December 2018, the Global Compact sets the agenda for the international community to ease pressure on host countries; enhance refugee self-resilience; expand access to third-country solutions and support conditions in countries of origin for returns in safety and dignity.  

The Global Refugee Forum will put forward the need for more equitable and sustained responsibility-sharing on these matters and call for better ways to support host countries and build resilience within the refugee community. It will also be an opportunity to share good practices on key priority areas.  

The EU is an official co-sponsor of four of the six priority areas in the agenda: burden and responsibility sharing; education; jobs and livelihoods; and solutions. It also took part on the spotlight sessions that preceded the high-level meeting, including on the IGAD Support Platform and on the SSAR Support Platform. The EU has also organised a Spotlight Session on "Response to the Syrian-crisis – delivering results in partnership" on 16 December (Advance Session), attended by commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi. On Wednesday, Commissioner for Crisis management Janez Lenarčič will address the High Level Dialogue on Education and Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen will intervene at the closing session of the Forum. 

The EU and its Member States are major international donors to support refugees in countries hosting them. Between 2016 and 2019, the EU committed around €8.85 billion of its external funding in support to refugees and their host communities around the world, in particular in response to the Syria crisis, Horn of Africa, the Afghan and Venezuela regional situations and beyond.

In 2019 alone, the EU has committed over €2.1 billion to respond to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in the world and, thanks to EU resettlement schemes, more than 65,000 people in need of international protection were able to find safety in Europe since 2015.