United NationsDépartement des Affaires Économiques et Sociales Développement Durable

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

1. What decisions or new strategies has the governing body of your organization taken to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief summary below, including the overarching vision of your governing body for the Decade of Action on the SDGs.

UNHCR is the global refugee institution and a protection agency, and its mandate is to provide international protection and support states in seeking permanent solutions for the problem of refugees, as well as prevent and find solutions to the problem of statelessness.

In legal terms, the High Commissioner and his Office form a multilateral, intergovernmental institution, established by the GA as its subsidiary organ. The Statue of UNHCR describes the Office's work as humanitarian and social and of an entirely non-political character.

The High Commissioner's refugee mandate is embedded in public international law, and in particular international refugee and human rights law. Through a series of GA resolutions, UNHCR has also been called upon to assist internally displaced persons. Currently, this role is mostly executed within the context of humanitarian emergencies, where UNHCR is part of the interagency coordination approach. This approach has been developed through a series of GA resolutions and inter agency protocols to ensure a more predictable and focused response to humanitarian emergencies, in particular to support the protection and assistance needs of the internally displaced. The approach fully respects the mandates of the respective entities, and with UNHCR focusing specifically on the protection, provision of emergency shelter and ensuring camp coordination for internally displaced in conflict situations. In addition, in line with the SG's Policy Decision on Return of Refugees and IDPs, UNHCR plays a role in IDP returnee settings.

UNHCR's contribution to the SDGs is in the spirit of the overarching principles of "leave no one behind" and "reaching the furthest behind first", targeted to persons of UNHCR's concern - refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, and stateless persons - as well as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

With the above in mind, UNHCR's functions are mainly in advancing, advocating and providing protection and supporting states to ensure that they fulfil their obligations under international law in regards to the achievements of rights, including ensuring protection and providing equal access to basic rights and services, as well as pursuing durable solutions. This is conducted on the one hand through setting policies, providing advice to legal/ legislative process, and advocacy in order to shape the international refugee system and on the other by providing direct assistance to refugees, both legal and material. In addition, UNHCR maintains a strong emergency response capacity that is deployed to new refugee situations to ensure humanitarian assistance and coordination of all actors involved in the refugee response, under the overall leadership of the host Government. Resource mobilisation also plays an important part.

In the lead-up to the 2030 Agenda, UNHCR worked together with other agencies, such as IOM, OCHA and the Special rapporteur of the Human Rights of IDPs, to ensure that all persons of concern to UNHCR were included in its guiding vision through the principle of leave no one behind that underpins the Agenda.

As set out in the organisation's Strategic Directions 2017-2021, UNHCR will:

- "Build on the commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no-one behind, and on the Sustainable Development Goals to promote the inclusion of refugees, the internally displaced and stateless people in National Development Frameworks.

- Engage strongly with States, host communities, civil society and key national service providers to promote the inclusion of refugees, internally displaced and stateless people in mainstream national systems, including health and education, pending durable solutions to their displacement."

In a mandatory instruction issued in December 2017 with an overview of requirements for UNHCR reporting on 2017, implementation in 2018 and planning for 2019, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a prominent place. Seeking the involvement of development actors in addressing forced displacement and statelessness is an important operational objective of UNHCR. As such, Representatives and Directors must ensure and advocate for the inclusion of refugees and other persons of concern in national development plans in line with the SDG guidance issued in September 2016. Additional UNHCR guidance has been developed relating to programming specifically for education and for prevention and response to statelessness to further support achievement of the relevant SDGs.

Launch of the Solutions and Resilience Division in the UNHCR HQs in 2018 is in spirit of the 2030 Agenda, and development-humanitarian nexus. The new division will foster and institutionalize more close partnership to ensure goals of the 2030 Agenda are achieved for displaced population.

2. At the secretariat level, what steps has your organization taken (or will it take) in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please specify actions, including but not limited to the following areas:

2.1 SDG-specific strategies, plans or work programmes;

Noting that UNHCR is not part of the UN Secretariat, UNHCR works closely with all Secretariat entities as well as with other agencies, funds and programmes to ensure that the rights and needs of persons of concern to UNHCR are integrated and these population groups can benefit from the Agenda 2030 and their progress be measured against the same goals and targets as citizens of a country.

UNHCR continues to advocate for accelerated and inclusive implementation of the SDGs globally and at country levels. Official Guidance on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Addressing Statelessness, Refugee Education and Sustainable Development and Principles for Identification for Sustainable Development have been issued. This is also made publically available as a ways of sharing good practice and learning on UNHCR's official website: www.unhcr.org/2030-agenda-for-sustainable-development.html.

UNHCR's Biennial Programme Budget and UNHCR's Strategic Directions (2017-2021) provide UNHCR's overall framework of work. Further important developments to guide UNHCR's operations in focusing on this include:

- the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework;

- UNHCR's shift towards Multi-year planning and multi-partner as the organization's new approach to strategic planning, currently launched in 22 operations and as of 2020 across the organization (please see UNHCR's Biennial Programme Budget 2016/17 [revised], paragraph 116)

- A revision of UNHCR's Results-based management system to enable the organization to systematically and reliably plan, monitor and measure this as of 2020.

- An internal review of UNHCR's response to internal displacement, focusing on ensuring stronger and more predictable action to situations of internal displacement.

UNHCR is currently working with other actors (such as the World Bank) to leverage existing data platforms to feed forcibly displaced data for the different sectors (e.g. Energy, Education, Livelihoods, WASH).

UNHCR joined the Global Alliance for SDG16 in late 2017 as a co-chair. UNHCR co-funded SDG16 activities to encourage inclusion of refugees, IDPs, and stateless population in Latin America and European countries.

2.2 Aligning the structure of the organization with the SDGs and the transformative features of the 2030 Agenda, including any challenges and lessons learned in doing so;

Following a rapid organisational assessment in 2016 and 2017, a change management team has been established within UNHCR to provide recommendations and follow-up on the organisational assessment. The new Division of Resilience and Solutions formally came in to effect on 1 February 2018, bringing together colleagues from technical units within the Division of International Protection (DIP) and the Division of Programme Support and Management (DPSM).

2.3 Readjusting or updating results-based budgeting and management, including performance indicators;

UNHCR is continuously reviewing ways to simplify programming instruments. UNHCR is currently undertaking a review of its Results Based Management (RBM) programming framework with a view to strengthen compatibility with external planning frameworks in the humanitarian and development area. UNHCR's RBM requires us to identify goals, objectives, performance targets and impact and report back on them. This revision seeks to use and closely align the future RBM System and thereby its planning, programming and monitoring with SDG Goals and relevant indicators.

In support of this process key sectors at UNHCR have recently concluded a revision to their indicators including Education, Energy, Health, and Livelihoods which map to the SDG objectives and indicators. The revised monitoring tools put in place are an effort to strengthen understanding of impact and cost-effectiveness of programs. Each of these sectors have taken steps towards improving the access to their data through online platforms.

2.4 Action to enhance support to the principle of "leaving no one behind" and to integrated policy approaches;

The concept of "leaving no one behind" and reaching "the furthest behind" translates for UNHCR to "people of concern to the organization", including refugees and people in refugee-like situations, asylum seekers, internally displaced, returnees and stateless people and people in risk of statelessness. Within the countries and societies they find themselves in, forcibly displaced and stateless people are often among those 'furthest behind'.

Within the groups of people of concern, UNHCR identifies and addresses the needs of the most vulnerable persons of concern facing heightened protection risks and assistance needs, often referred to as persons with specific needs. UNHCR's Global Strategic Priorities (GSPs) 2016-17 highlight particular groups within UNHCR's persons of concern that may face specific protection risks and needs such as survivors of sexual and gender based violence, unaccompanied and separated children and religious and ethnic minorities.

At the start of each operations management cycle, all UNHCR operations conduct a comprehensive needs assessment that identifies the priorities and needs of people of concern to the organization, including the most vulnerable in line with UNHCR's Age, Gender and Diversity approach. UNHCR's Needs Assessment Handbook (http://needsassessment.unhcr.org) issued in August 2017 brings systematically together objectives, principles, standards, procedures, working methods and global commitments such as those arising from the Grand Bargain and the New York Declaration and explains how Operations can use them practically to meet UNHCR's existing institutional due diligence and accountability to populations of concern and affected communities.

UNHCR's Tool for Participatory Assessments supports the continuous dialogue and engagement with people of concern to better understand needs and risks (http://www.unhcr.org/publications/legal/450e963f2/unhcr-tool-participatory-assessment-operations.html). UNHCR's registration and case management tools support the organisation in the identification of specific needs and in addressing needs in an appropriate and time-sensitive way.

UNHCR's Strategic Priorities and its AGD approach are reflected in UNHCR's Biennial Programme of Work (paragraph 4, Annex V): http://www.unhcr.org/excom/scaf/57c574ab7/biennial-programme-budget-2016-2017-revised-office-united-nations-high.html

UNHCR's Age, gender and diversity policy: http://www.unhcr.org/protection/women/4e7757449/unhcr-age-gender-diversity-policy-working-people-communities-equality-protection.html

UNHCR's AGD accountability report 2016: http://www.unhcr.org/protection/women/595cdf5c7/unhcr-age-gender-diversity-accountability-report-2016.html

UNHCR Guidance on the identification of people with specific needs: https://emergency.unhcr.org/topic/14429/specific-needs

Furthermore, UNHCR's Strategic directions 2017-2021 express the organization's commitment to "maintain the expertise and capability to deliver assistance in emergencies and beyond, prioritizing the most vulnerable, wherever the capacity of local and national partners is weak, where assistance is not available from other sources, or when the delivery of assistance yields important protection dividends." (UNHCR's Strategic directions 2017-2021, p. 20)

In addition, the Strategic Directions express that UNHCR commits "as part of a broader inter-agency response, (to) engage in a more consistent, predictable and in a sustainable way in situations of internal displacement, assuming both a coordination and an operational delivery role in the areas of protection, camp coordination and camp management, and emergency shelter, and making every effort to ensure that key needs are met, focusing on the most vulnerable." (UNHCR's Strategic directions 2017-2021, p. 21).

Bilaterally with governments, through interagency partnership with development actors (UNDP and ILO) or through government engagement within the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), UNHCR ensures refugees are included into national systems and services to the extent possible. Examples include easing the access to the labour market, access to justice and local governance system, national education and health care system.

2.5 Action to address the interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;

2.6 Others.

3. What normative, analytical, technical assistance or capacity building activities is your organization providing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief account of the activities you have organized or intend to undertake, including but not limited to the following areas:

3.1 Enhancing national implementation including by supporting the mainstreaming of the SDGs in development plans and policies or through national sustainable development plans/strategies;

As a humanitarian and protection organization, UNHCR's role is to support and advise Governments and other stakeholders in providing protection and solutions to forcibly displaced and stateless people. Types of engagement include global monitoring, normative support and advice in keeping with UNHCR's statutory responsibilities under international refugee law, capacity building and technical assistance, data management and direct support.

UNHCR's dual mandate of solutions and protection for forcibly displaced calls for sustainable solutions such as mainstreaming access to services and programs into national development plans. At the sector level the Education and Health team have mainstreaming into national systems as a core pillar to the approach, and Livelihoods, Energy, and Environment work closely at building sustainable solutions through non-traditional partners particularly through development, government line ministries, and private sector partners.

In Turkey, the joint programme on rule of law and human rights will build on existing support from UN agencies to national rule of law systems. The programme will ensure the inclusion of refugees with specific attention to needs related to gender based violence and women's empowerment.

In Myanmar, the joint project aims to enable policy-makers and local stakeholders to include the needs of forcibly displaced persons and affected communities in administrative justice reform processes. It will also strengthen the capacity of the national justice sector and local legal aid providers on issues such as HLP, civil documentation and registration and includes displaced persons and affected communities as part of legal information, counselling and assistance services.

3.2 Mainstreaming the SDGs in sectoral strategies, including specific SDG/target strategies;

In support of this process key sectors at UNHCR have recently concluded a revision to their indicators including Education, Energy, Health, and Livelihoods which map to the SDG objectives and indicators. The revised monitoring tools put in place are an effort to strengthen understanding of impact and cost-effectiveness of programs. Each of these sectors have taken steps towards improving the access to their data through online platforms.

3.3 Supporting the strengthening of national institutions for more integrated solutions;

3.4 Data and statistical capacity building;

UNHCR, together with the UN Statistical Division, EUROSTAT, JIPS, Turkstat, World Bankand Statistics Norway, leads the Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS). The EGRIS has developed  the International Recommendation on Refugee Statistics (IRRS), and the International Recommendation on IDP Statistics (IRIS), which were adopted at the UN Statistical Commission in 2018 and 2020, respectively. The Recommendations provide guidance to Member States and especially National Statistical Offices on how to produce official statistics on forcibly displaced persons. EGRIS is now embarking on its next phase, where the implementation of the recommendation is the key element. Capacity building and strengthening of national partners in relation to the production of statistics on forcibly displaced will be the focus, though the work focuses on and has relevance for both national, regional and global level statistical systems. To support in the implantation a technical guidance document is also developed, this compilers’ manual provides hand on guidance in how to take the recommendations forward at country level. In addition, a number of activities are planned to give hands-on longer-term capacity building support to NSOs that are implementing the recommendations. In parallel efforts are made at all level to strengthen further the political buy-in and understanding of the importance of the work.Within the context of the SDGs, quality implementation of the recommendations will improve the access to data and increase the availability of SDG indicators disaggregated by migration status, including forced displacement  The EGRIS recommendations are in line with the SDGs and provide guidance on which indicators should be disaggregated. Increased availability of disaggregated data and statistics on forced displacement will inform and strengthen policy and decision making at national as well as regional and international level.

To improve sustainable solutions for refugees, promoting the economic inclusion of refugees has been a core pillar of the CRRF and wider solutions approach. To inform policy makers on the benefits and risks of economic inclusion of forcibly displaced, UNHCR has invested in building the evidence base of the economic impact of refugees on host communities and in partnerships with development actors like the World Bank to improve data on poverty. To that end, UNHCR has a set of projects open to improve data and evidence with the World Bank particularly to inform the design of the WB IDA 18 refugee and host community sub-window. A Joint Data Centre between UNHCR and the World Bank, which focuses on socioeconomic dimensions and data on forcibly displaced populations, was inaugurated in October 2019.

3.5 Harnessing science, technology and innovation for the SDGs;

UNHCR is currently working with other actors (such as the World Bank) to leverage existing data platforms to feed forcibly displaced data for the different sectors (e.g. Energy, Education, Livelihoods, WASH).

3.6 Multi-stakeholder partnerships;

In 2014, UNHCR published the refugee coordination model, aimed at providing increased transparency and solidifying a more diverse and partner friendly approach to its coordination role in refugee settings, as per the organisation's statue. The two main tools under the refugee coordination model is the Regional Refugee coordinator and the Regional Refugee Response Plans that aim to ensure one coordinated approach to support the host governments. Under this model, all organisations working with refugees can publish their plans and seek funding. In some countries this has developed into a 3RP approach, linking humanitarian and development agencies together. In the MENA region, in the past 5 years, this has resulted in a 13 billion aid programme, coordinated by UNHCR, in support of the governments hosting Syrian refugees. On an annual basis the RRPs bring in around 4 billion USD, with more than 50 % of funds granted to partner agencies. The RRP process answers the donor and host country demand for one coordinated plan to avoid duplication and better address gaps in the initial refugee response.

UNHCR has also shift towards Multi-year and multi-partner planning with the organization's new approach to strategic planning. It is currently launched in 22 operations and as of 2020, it will be across the organization.


UNHCR has employed a multi-stakeholder approach in line with the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) to work closely with national authorities, partners, clusters, and people of concern — refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless persons — in more than 130 countries to achieve the four objectives of the GCR, namely to ease pressures on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, expand access to third-country solutions, and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity. The experience obtained to date from the implementation of the GCR and its comprehensive refugee response framework as well as the work leading up to the first-ever Global Refugee Forum, held in December 2019, have contributed to further shaping UNHCR’s multi-stakeholder approach as well as partnership and coordination priorities. In line with the GCR, UNHCR is further transforming itself to play a more catalytic role in refugee responses, including by bringing together development actors in support of responses to displacement and situations of statelessness. The engagement of a broad range of actors, including those from outside the traditional humanitarian sphere, is critical to mobilizing effective responses and pursuing solutions to forced displacement and statelessness. This means strengthening existing partnerships, but also pursuing new ones that can help foster innovative approaches to protection and assistance. Practicing ‘new ways of working’ such as strengthened humanitarian-development cooperation, is key in this regard. UNHCR has contributed to field-driven initiatives to forge and work towards collective outcomes. This allows UNHCR and its partners to capitalize on comparative advantages and mandates, transcending longstanding silos, with a positive impact on operations. A key priority for UNHCR is to ensure that protection remains central in these efforts.

Internally, UNHCR has also initiated a number of measures to better position itself for a wider range of partnerships and thus contribute more strongly to achieving the SDGs in the long term. UNHCR replaced the 2017 Guidelines on its approach to the SDGs, with a new position paper intended to further guide field colleagues on this matter. The paper demonstrates how UNHCR as a humanitarian actor, through ensuring better linkages between its humanitarian work and that of development actors, can contribute to long-term development goals. To improve its policies on strengthening partnership, UNHCR issued a new Partnership Handbook and revised its policy on programme support costs providing greater flexibility to partners. Furthermore, a number of internal changes were implemented in 2019. This included the reconfiguration of the Division of Resilience and Solutions, with the transfer of the technical sectors of the former Division of Programme Support and Management to strengthen UNHCR’s overall capacity to engage in designing longer-term support for refugee-hosting areas and the inclusion of refugees in national programmes. UNHCR also created a new Division of Strategic Planning and Results aimed at consolidating and strengthening existing programme, budget, partner management and results-management functions in the organization. After the completion of the decentralization and regionalization process, the new operational structure allows UNHCR to respond to emerging challenges in a more flexible, efficient and innovative way, and to further advance its strategic partnerships at the point of delivery.

3.7 Bolstering local action and supporting sub-national plans/strategies and implementation for the SDGs;

Nothing to report at this moment.

3.8 Leveraging interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;

Nothing to report

3.9 Supporting policies and strategies to leave no one behind;

To ensure that refugees are not left behind and inclusion of refugees in national systems is enhanced, UNHCR engaged with key development partners and multilateral development banks such as UNDP, UNICEF and the World Bank. Thanks to the first Global Refugee Forum, which gathered 3,000 participants representing States, intergovernmental and international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, faith actors, parliamentarians, cities, civil society, academics and sports organizations, as well as refugees, important pledges were made to address long-term needs of refugees, promoting their inclusion and thus ensuring that they are not left behind. As refugees themselves played a pivotal role in preparing for and participating in the forum, the importance of ensuring that refugees are part of the conversation on matters that relate to their lives and futures was recognized. A broad range of States and other stakeholders pledged support for refugees and their hosts. Among them, some 100 pledges were made in support of inclusive national policies. States and other actors pledged, for example, to support ‘out of camp’ policies, strengthened asylum systems, refugees’ access to work and financial services, and the inclusion of refugees in national and local development plans and national systems for education and health. Some 160 pledges focused on achieving lasting solutions. Several countries of origin pledged to create conditions for refugee to return in the longer term. They announced efforts to resolve conflict, promote the rule of law, and build peace. Many States and other actors also pledged to use their political and financial resources to address root causes of displacement. In keeping with the compact’s call for a Three-Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways, there were also more than 100 commitments to expand third-country solutions, such as resettlement, private or community sponsorship, labour mobility schemes, and scholarships for refugees. In addition, 14 specific pledges were made that related to or supported disability inclusion.

UNHCR worked with Member States and a range of partners to enhance the protection of and search for solutions for IDPs; both at global and regional level, e.g. by publishing a new IDP policy and by reinvigorating the work of the global protection cluster. The policy, which was published in September 2019, and the accompanying 2020-2021 Initiative on International Displacement are an expression of the commitment by the High Commissioner to work more systematically across the entire spectrum of displacement, with the overall aim of leaving no one behind.

Another important area in which UNHCR has advanced its SDG commitments to leave no one behind is the area of statelessness. Since the launch of the #IBelong campaign in November 2014, numerous important successes have been achieved with regard to the goal of ending statelessness by 2024. At the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in October 2019, more than 30 States delivered pledges to undertake qualitative or quantitative studies on statelessness, or to add questions pertaining to nationality in their Official Census by the year 2024. In 2017, UNHCR and UNICEF jointly launched the UNICEF-UNHCR Coalition on Every Child’s Right to a Nationality. The agencies have developed joint strategies to address some of the key causes of childhood statelessness in more than 20 countries, with some unprecedented results. The joint advocacy has led to concrete change in Kazakhstan for example, where a new law that ensures that all children born in the country are registered, regardless of the status of their parents, has been adopted.

With regard to the inclusion of the most vulnerable and to strengthen the inclusion of people with disabilities, UNHCR contributed substantively to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action that were launched in November 2019. UNHCR ensured that the needs and capacities of refugees with disabilities and other persons of concern to UNHCR with disabilities are fully addressed in the Guidelines and drafted the chapter on protection.

3.10 Supporting the mobilization of adequate and well-directed financing;

3.11 Reducing disaster risk and building resilience;

3.12 Supporting international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;

3.13 Others.

4. The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Has your organization participated in or supported the work of the HLPF? If yes, please specify your involvement in the following areas:

4.1 Supporting the intergovernmental body of your organization in contributing to the thematic review of the HLPF;

So far UNHCR has participated in the HLPF at the technical level. There has been no involvement of the UNHCR's Executive Committee (EXCOM) in the review of the 2030 agenda and the SDG by the HLPF. There are no plans in this regard for 2018.

4.2 Contributing to policy/background briefs for the HLPF;

So far UNHCR has not contributed to the policy/background briefs for the HLPF, but will participate in its formulation in future.

4.3 Helping organize SDG-specific events in the preparatory process;

Not applicable

4.4 Organizing side events or speaking at the HLPF;

Not applicable

4.5 Supporting the VNR process.

UNHCR provides support for the VNR process as a member of the UNCT based on a request from the government concerned. UNHCR has been advocating for inclusion of refugee element in SDG discussions at the country-level, under the overarching principle of 'leave no one behind", particularly in relation to integration of refugee assistance into national system.

UNHCR (through UNCT participation in MAPS mission) will also be providing support to the European countries undertaking VNRs in 2018 and 2019, with regard to SDG 10 and SDG 16, and ensuring that our persons of concern are included under 'leave no one behind' principle.

5. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? In this regard, has your organization launched or intend to launch any joint programmes or projects in collaboration with other UN entities? Are there any results or lessons you would like to highlight that might help improve the design and impact of such efforts? Has your organization participated in any of the following coordination systemwide mechanisms or any other relevant platform - CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT? Please specify which and indicate any suggestions you may have about improving collaborations within and across these mechanisms/platforms.

UNHCR is an active member of the CEB, UNDG, ECESA Plus, RCM, and UN-Water.

  • UNICEF partnership


To meet the commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals, make real strides toward achieving the goals set out in the Global Compact for Refugees, and facilitate UN reform by collaborating in a more innovative, effective and efficient manner, UNHCR and UNICEF developed a two-year blueprint for joint action. It focuses on improving the response in the priority areas of education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and child protection, and represents a contribution to the SDGs in these specific areas. The plan, which is titled “A Fair Deal for Refugee Children”, is aimed at strengthening the response to refugee and returnee children, based on the three principles of inclusion, predictability, and additionality. It envisages a clearer division of labour between the two organizations, linking UNHCR’s overall coordination role for refugees and its strong emergency response with UNICEF’s development expertise and frontline responsibility in these key areas. As a first phase in 2020, the implementation will take place in nine focus countries, representing both large-scale refugee emergencies and those of a more protracted nature. The blueprint includes a set of core global indicators on which the two organizations will report and that will allow measuring the impact of the intervention on refugee children. The experiences and lessons learned will provide the basis for a new memorandum of understanding and for further follow up in all areas of cooperation between UNHCR and UNICEF.


Through this joint cooperation, UNHCR and UNICEF will measurably contribute towards the achievement of (i) SDG 4 by strengthening existing education systems to provide refugees with access to free, quality education; (ii) SDG 6 by strengthening national WASH systems, to enable them to respond to refugee needs, and with a longer-term perspective, by ensuring that WASH services to refugee children and their families are appropriately integrated within existing national systems; (iii) SDG 16 by advocating for the inclusion for refugees and returnees in national systems, regional frameworks and national development plans and thus promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and inclusive institutions in line with SDG 16; (iv) SDG 17 by strengthening its joint cooperation and partnership.

  • World Bank

In 2019, UNHCR and the World Bank joined forces to improve global data on refugees by establishing a Joint Data Center. This centre is managed by UNHCR and the World Bank – and the work seeks to combine UNHCR’s experience, knowledge and data on refugees and displaced people with the World Bank’s experience in poverty reduction and socio-economic analytical expertise. The key objectives of the data centre are to ensure population and socio-economic data are systematically collected and analysed so forced displacement data becomes more accessible and to promote innovation. It also aims at strengthening the sustainability of a global data collection system, building on the work initiated by experts in the United Nations Statistical Commission and strengthening country-level institutional systems where necessary. Data collection and analysis will focus on refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless people, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returned refugees, as well as host communities.

  • ILO

UNHCR and the International Labour Organization held a high-level meeting in June 2019 to review progress made against the objectives set out in their 2016 memorandum of understanding and the accompanying joint action plan. Both organizations will improve collaboration in technical and operational areas and work together to mobilize additional resources to reinforce the self-reliance of refugees and host communities. They also agreed to strengthen institutions and programmes and to pursue joint advocacy and capacity-building efforts. Several initiatives and training tools were developed, including in relation to inter-agency coordination.

  • UN Habitat MOU

UNHCR and UN-Habitat increased cooperation on issues related to shelter, settlement and urban planning and agreed to work together in providing support to operations through the deployment of joint teams and the development of urban guidelines.

6. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups, both in supporting implementation at the country, regional and global levels, and within your own organization? If yes, please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established any multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, please describe them and how their performances are being monitored and reviewed.

UNHCR and its engagement with development actors is further strengthened via the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (A/RES/71/1) and its Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), which encapsulates the principles of solidarity with and responsibility sharing for refugee situations. The resolution calls upon UNHCR to facilitate the CRRF with the aim to ease pressure on host countries; enhance refugee self-reliance; expand third-country solutions; and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

The CRRF approach is being piloted in Central America, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia Situation, Tanzania and Uganda. Host governments' leadership and ownership are central to an effective and sustainable comprehensive response. In CRRF countries, governments are engaging a variety of stakeholders, including line ministries, local authorities, development partners, UN and NGO partners, the private sector and financial institutions, while ensuring the partnership with the refugees themselves. This is being done through government-led CRRF secretariats or steering-groups that work with stakeholders to assess needs and develop prioritized strategies. Existing UN coordination mechanisms are being leveraged through active involvement of the Resident Coordinators and Humanitarian Coordinators, encouraging greater cooperation across institutional mandates. Engagement with development actors within and outside the UNCTs has intensified in these locations and UNHCR is an active provider of key good practices and advocacy messages on refugee related issues.

7. Has your organization organized any conferences, forums or events designed to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs? If yes, please provide a brief summary, below and include lessons learned and gaps identified based on the outcomes of these events. Please also include any events you want to organize in the coming years.

The first Global Refugee Forum took place in December 2019 and was aimed at building solidarity with the world’s refugees and the countries and communities that host them. The Forum was a platform where States and other actors come together every four years to share good practices and contribute with financial support, technical expertise and policy changes to help reach the goals of the Global Compact. These contributions are key to transforming the aspirations of the compact into positive changes in the lives of refugees.

Pledges and good practices shared at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum can be found on the Digital Platform for the Global Compact on Refugees:

8. Is there any other information you would like to share, including annual reports of your organization and any impact assessment or evaluation reports? If yes, please use the space below and attach the document(s). Please also use this space to provide any other information, comments or remarks you deem necessary.

Evaluation reports are made available online with a management response at the dedicated UNHCR portal page here: http://www.unhcr.org/evaluation-and-research.html . For your information, we would like to draw your attention to the 2017 completed evaluations:

- Evaluation Synthesis of UNHCR's cash based interventions in Jordan issued in December 2017.

- Evaluation of UNHCR's Ukraine Country Programme including a management response issued in October 2017.

- Evaluation of UNHCR's implementation of three of its protection strategies: the Global Education Strategy, the Updated SGBV Strategy, and the Child Protection Framework. A 4 page summary is available here together with the management response to the evaluation issued in October 2017.

- Evaluation of UNHCR's Leadership of the Global Protection Cluster and Field Protection Clusters: 2014-2016 .

9. In your view, what should strategic directions look like for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Decade of Action? What key elements should they include and what major challenges should they address?

The SWSD should focus on a few key UN priorities where it makes sense for us to join forces (e.g. climate change, data, knowledge management). It should provide an overarching direction for the UNDAFs and country level frameworks, but should not micro-manage what should be a country owned strategy. We should avoid creating parallel results and indicators frameworks and avoid heavy processes while at the same time seeking to establish a few benchmarks applicable across operations. Enhancing disaggregated data collection, management and analysis should be a key priority. Finally the pursuit of joint programming to develop robust HDP projects would help address the various challenges.

10. Please suggest one or two endeavours or initiatives that the UN system organizations could undertake together to support the implementation of the SDGs between now and 2030.

Humanitarian Development Peace Nexus collaboration, Climate change Data and knowledge management