Meaningful participation of young people in the stocktaking and future design processes of the Global Refugee Forum

The first mid-term High Level Officials Meeting (HLOM), which is the midterm stocktake of the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) will be convened in December 2021. It is imperative that the voices of refugee and host community youth will be heard, both in the lead up to and during the event – to ensure systemic and sustainable inclusion and meaningful participation of youth.

While the first ever GRF was unprecedented and witnessed the participation of a variety of stakeholders in coming together to operationalize the international agreement the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) adopted in 2018 which set out to enhance international cooperation around refugee protection and solutions through concrete commitments (so called pledges), youth was not a visible stakeholder group, despite the fact that young people are a growing part of displacement-affected populations globally.

To ensure that youth are properly involved in the GCR and GRF processes, looking forward, a group of youth led organizations and networks together with DRC, UNHCR, and the Compact for Youth in Humanitarian Action decided in the spring of 2021 to create an initiative including the following activities:

  • A series of regional youth dialogues: over the course of November, five workshops will be organized. Read more and apply below if you are interested in participating. Please note that the youth dialogues will be virtual, but we may be able to help facilitate access to internet. In addition, materials for organizing self-facilitated dialogues will also be made available shortly. The youth dialogues will focus on programming related to young people and the systemic inclusion of young people in the related policy processes. 
  • Bringing recommendations and statements to the HLOM on December 14-15, 2021 through a satellite event, media products (videos etc.) and recommendation report.

The initiative was launched through two events on August 25 and 31. The first event introduced the GCR and GRF and how participation of young people can increase. The second event took stock of the youth related pledges from the GRF in 2019 and discussed how multi-stakeholder efforts can enhance future opportunities for young people. You can re-watch the events below.

Do you want to participate in a regional youth dialogue?

Are you a young person (18-35) affected by displacement and active in your community or society and passionate about contributing to social change to the benefit of both refugee and host community youth alike? Would you be interested in joining a youth dialogue organized in your region? If so, please fill out the form below.

Due to limited number of seats, a selection process will take place, based on motivation, geography, anchorage in a communal or organizational structure, and diversity. You don’t have to be very familiar with the GCR and the GRF to be accepted, but you need to be motivated to familiarize yourself more with these concepts during the consultation – but don’t worry, there are plenty of resources available to guide you and we stand ready to support!

Please submit your application no later than 22 October 2021. We will get back to you soon after.

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For more information
Please contact us here: [email protected]

Launch of Youth Dialogues, 25 August 2021

Programme: Launch of Youth Dialogues

Speakers

  • Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Youth Envoy (Recorded message on the importance of young people engaging and influencing the GCR/GRF)
  • Grainne Ohara, Director, Division of International Protection (UNHCR)
  • Perveen Ali, Head, GRF Coordination Team (UNHCR, about GRF, what is at stake and where to impact)
  • Aisha Ali (Founder of “I – Profile Foundation,” and HOPE HUB)

Panelists

  • Felix Sesay, a refugee from Sierra Leone who is currently a youth fellow with UNFPA Ghana under the one year flagship program, Tertiary Refugee Student Network (TRSN). Felix is also a DAFI scholarship beneficiary.
  • Jean Marie Ishimwe, current Chairperson and Partnerships lead of a refugee-led organization, Youth Voices Community and founder of a refugee-led social enterprise, Nawezaa.
  • Safia Ibrahimkhel, former youth peace Ambassador for Pakistan and Afghanistan Youth Dialogues and current youth activist working for women’s socio-economic empowerment, advocating for education, and peace building.
  • Adriana Elizabeth Figueredo Costero, a DAFI student from Venezuela currently in Saltillo Mexico who mentors a group of young women whom she shares advice about future development with.
  • Noor Ghassan Alsharifi, from Syria who is living in a refugee camp in Jordan and is currently participating in NRC Jordan’s youth programme in aspiration of becoming a qualified pharmacist.

Moderator

  • Natasha Al-Hariri (DFUNK)

Stocktaking Event on GRF Youth Pledges, 31 August 2021

Programme: Stocktaking Event on GRF Youth Pledges

Speakers

  • Ms. Charlotte Slente, Secretary General, Danish Refugee Council
  • Mr. Sajjad Malik, Director of the Division of Resilience and Solutions, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Ms. Mette Thygesen, Head of Department, Humanitarian Action, Civil Society, and Engagement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
  • Germán Robles Osuna, Youth Advisor, UNHCR

Panelists

  • Foni Joyce Vuni, Global Refugee Youth Network Coordinator, On behalf of Women’s Refugee Council
  • Sadiki Bamperineza, Global Leader, Tertiary Refugee Student Network
  • Farida Luanda, Member, Global Youth Advisory Council
  • Priya Marwa, Officer in Charge, Adolescent Development and Participation, UNICEF
  • Jakob I. Myschetzky, Advisor on Youth in Displacement, Danish Refugee Council

Moderator

  • Barthelemy Mwanza, Co-chair, Global Youth Advisory Council

Background

The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) adopted in December 2018 by the majority of UN Member States and set out to improve international cooperation around improving conditions for refugees around the globe while also increasing support to host communities. The GCR included 18 specific references to youth and stressed that “the empowerment of refugee and host community youth, building on their talent, potential, and energy, supports resilience and eventual solutions.” Furthermore, the Compact established that “the active participation and engagement of refugee and host community youth will be supported by States and relevant stakeholders, including through projects that recognize, utilize and develop their capacities and skills and foster their physical and emotional well-being. ” Hence, youth were a prominent stakeholder from the outset of the GCR.

Following the affirmation of the GCR, the first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) took place one year later in December 2019 in Geneva. 93 pledges specifically focussing on youth were made by a broad range of actors in various sectors, underlining the increased urgency of working with and for youth in creating pathways for sustainable futures for both refugee and host community youth. However, the COVID-19 crisis has impeded the implementation of the GRF pledges as well as created new challenges and amplified existing ones for displacement-affected populations, not least youth.

Youth agency, leadership, and engagement in all aspects that concern them are gaining more momentum in international policy fora, and the voices of youth are becoming an increasingly visible force of global change. The efforts of the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action, as well as the development and launch of the IASC Guidelines on Working with and for Young People have further accelerated these trends, while providing a platform and tools for meaningful youth participation. This initiative therefore aims to make sure young people affected by displacement will have a role in the further roll out of the GCR and the GRF, and that their voices are heard and included.

About the project

The initiative is coordinated by DRC/Danish Refugee Council and UNHCR in close collaboration with youth-led organizations, the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action, and a series of civil society organizations.