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Global refugee forum highlights development cooperation

Refugees in Adjumani, Uganda

Refugees in Adjumani, Uganda

Held every four years, the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) is the world’s largest international gathering on refugees, designed to support the practical implementation of the objectives set out in the Global Compact on Refugees.

The second GRF took place in Geneva from December, 2023. Japan, serving as one of the co-convenor countries together with Uganda for this international conference, called for strengthened responses to the refugee crisis. Japan strongly emphasized at the GRF the importance of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (HDP Nexus).

While the response to refugees and displaced persons has traditionally focused on emergency humanitarian assistance, Japan highlighted the need for a perspective that includes mid- to long-term development cooperation, especially as situations become prolonged and normalized.

In his speech, the president of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tanaka Akihiko, noted that considering compounding and escalating humanitarian crises, cooperation among actors involved in development and peace, in addition to humanitarian assistance, is essential to respond to protracted refugee situations and to prevent crises.

He also noted the importance of supporting governments in refugee-hosting countries to fulfill their roles and execute leadership to promote mutually complementary cooperation among all actors involved in the HDP nexus.

On this basis, Tanaka introduced examples of governmental capacity development and human resource development targeting refugees that have been conducted so far by JICA in refugee-hosting countries such as Uganda and called for greater collaboration among actors in HDP areas and for cooperation towards refugees and host communities.

The director of the Peace Building department at JICA HQ Murotani also mentioned that the key to promoting the HDP nexus is the diversity of participants.

In addition to humanitarian organizations, individuals and organizations involved in development and peace are beginning to collaborate, calling for efforts across the entire society. Contributions to development and peace are not limited to public institutions, as there is significant potential for involvement from private companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In this GRF, various forms of pledges, including funds, resources and policies, were submitted as over 1,600 new “declarations.” Among them were 43 “multi-stakeholder pledges” facilitated through collaboration between governments and other partners.

From the Japanese government, comprehensive support for the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (HDPN) has been pledged to the international community, encompassing initiatives such as promoting the third-country resettlement of refugees, expanding, and providing educational opportunities and advancing peaceful coexistence through sports.

Support to GRF

JICA supported the preparations leading to the GRF as follows:

JICA financially supported the localization roundtable discussions as part of the pledge areas for the Government of Uganda.

As part of the support, JICA facilitated he government of Uganda and the CRRF secretariat in the discussion on transition as one for the thematic areas for Government of Uganda pledges towards the Global Refugee Forum.

Part of the support included traveling to Japan where the core members of the transition team had discussions with Japanese counterpart as well as sharing and observing examples of Japan’s interventions in Migration and Refugee issues.

Additionally, JICA supported the local government of Obongi to make a presentation which informed the situation on the ground as experienced by the local governments. This in part informed the discussions at the roundtable meeting of the high-level event at the second Global Refugee Forum.

The author is former Refugee Advisor, Department of Refugees, Office of the Prime Minister

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