Dec 22, 2019 by Hill+Knowlton Strategies
At the high-level Global Refugee Forum (GRF), which took place in Geneva, between 17-18 December 2019, Qatar reiterated its support for refugees, the communities that host them and UNHCR, through active participation from the country’s delegation, which included dignitaries and businessmen. During the GRF,770 pledges were made globally, towards outstanding refugee issues such as employment, education, new government policies, resettlement and clean energy and infrastructure alternatives. While Qatar recommitted to the cause of refugees and supporting UNHCR and its programmes. The Qatari government and private sector, both continue to be long-standing partners of UNCHR with a history of generous contributions made throughout the years.
In attendance of the forum, Her Excellency Lolwah Rashid Al Khater, Assistant Foreign Minister of Qatar and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commented on Qatar’s substantial commitments, highlighting that “Qatar is proud to have launched many humanitarian initiatives and provided support to UNHCR’s programs in the amount of $60 million, while Qatar Fund for Development provided aid to the tune of $235 million from 2013 to 2019 to countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and the Rohingyas in Bangladesh.” ending her statement, by further reconfirming Qatar’s commitment to UNHCR and those forcibly displaced, H.E. stated “we highly commend the great efforts and professionalism of the UNHCR team and look forward to working more closely together with them.”
While the forum focused on six main areas: education, work, energy, infrastructure, shared responsibility, protection and solutions like settlement, the question of how best to create conditions for safe and voluntary return of refugees has been a major theme.
His Excellency Sheikh Khalifa bin Thani bin Abdullah Al-Thani, Trustee, Thani Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al-Thani Humanitarian Fund also in attendance, addressed the audience during a private sector plenary session, “Broadening the Base”, with a statement discussing the importance of showcasing pledges by key private sector and development actors. In 2019 alone, the Thani Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al-Thani Humanitarian Fund through UNHCR has supported close to one million displaced populations in Yemen and Bangladesh in the form of Zakat funds.
Khaled Khalifa, UNHCR Representative to the GCC emphasized on the role the government and the private sector play in supporting refugees: “we are extremely proud of the strong partnerships established with the government, private sector, and civil society of Qatar. The evolution of our relationship with the State of Qatar over the past decade is a testament of Qatar’s history and leadership in alleviating the plight of displaced populations globally. We, at UNHCR, look forward to continuing leveraging this solid collaboration with our partners in Qatar, for a dignified humanitarian response that leaves no one behind.”
Furthermore, on the sidelines of the GRF, Qatar Charity (QC) and Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) in cooperation with UNHCR and International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) organized an exhibition titled, ‘The Refugee Journey in Arabic Calligraphy’ portraying the suffering, challenges and dreams of millions of refugees worldwide through beautifully-done Arabic inscription.
Qatar’s keenness to strengthen its regional and international humanitarian efforts, and commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of refugees, is apparent in the ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the refugee crisis, and a comprehensive approach based on the principle of shared responsibility.
The Forum is a key element of the new Global Compact on Refugees that was affirmed by UN member states in New York in December 2018. Under the Compact, Global Refugee Forums take place every four years, meaning the next is scheduled for late 2023.
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