UN representatives hope that the forum will radically change the situation with the attitude to refugees and the communities that accept them.
More than two thousand government officials, the UN, as well as representatives of the business community, civil society, and humanitarian organizations gather in Geneva to participate in the first-ever Global Forum on refugees.
The three-day event, which starts on Monday, aims to develop new approaches and prepare long-term commitments to help refugees and their host communities.
The organizers of the forum are preparing to receive heads of state from Germany, Turkey, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Somalia, Turkey, Ethiopia, as well as other prominent figures.
There is a lot at stake. More than 70 million people worldwide have been displaced by war, conflict, and persecution. Of these, more than 25 million are refugees who have crossed international borders and cannot return home.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than two-thirds of all refugees worldwide come from just five countries: Syria (6.7 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million), South Sudan (2.3 million), Myanmar (1.1 million) and Somalia (0.9 million). According to the Agency’s latest figures, Turkey has hosted the largest number of refugees (3.7 million), mostly from Syria.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) hopes that the forum in Geneva will fundamentally change the situation concerning refugees and the communities that host them.
UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told that the fragmented approach of the world community to refugees and displaced persons must change.
“It will bring everyone together in one place, at one table. But it is also an attempt to move forward. This is a clear call for sharing responsibility,” he said.
According to Baloch, everyone at all levels of government, development, financial, civil and other sectors should take responsibility and participate in the care of refugees.
“It is about changing the policy towards refugees. On sharing responsibility with the countries hosting the largest number of refugees, for example, on commitments to provide additional places for resettlement. It is also about changing policies on refugees’ access to education, health services, and other sectors where they can benefit like other people,” he added.