The 2023 Global Refugee Forum

Show of Solidarity: Key Takeaways from the Director of Great Step Initiative. Mr Cheng Laban Ndoh at the Momentous Global Refugee Forum 2023

The Director of Great Step Initiative, Mr Cheng Laban Ndoh, had the privilege of attending the Global Refugee Forum 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland from December 12th-15th as a member of the UNHCR Advisory Board. The forum brought together over 2,000 stakeholders - governments, NGOs, businesses, and refugees themselves - to discuss solutions to the global refugee crisis.

In this blog post, I'll share my key takeaways and observations from his participation in this impactful event. From the strong show of solidarity to innovative solutions proposed, it was an insightful few days.

Show of Solidarity

A key highlight was the commitment expressed by various stakeholders to show solidarity with refugees and stateless persons. Speakers like the UN High Commissioner Mr Filippo Grandi stressed the importance of meaningful refugee participation, which saw a major percentage increase since 2019.

The Nigerian government shared new pledges focused on enhancing self-reliance for refugees when it comes to jobs, access to social amenities, public health policies, and protection policies. Many other nations also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting refugee rights and access to essential services.

In total, over 1,600 new pledges were made by the close of the forum - a promising show of collaboration to address this global issue.

Innovative Solutions Discussed

The forum also showcased innovative solutions leveraging technology to tackle challenges refugees face. This included ideas like digital education and healthcare platforms as well as approaches to enable inclusive decision-making with refugee participation.  

There was a real emphasis on bringing creative ideas to the table.

Regional Perspectives Shared

The forum allowed representatives from different regions to share unique regional challenges as well as priorities when it comes to the refugee situation. This enables the international community to gain a better understanding of needs on the ground and facilitate targeted assistance where it is most useful.

Key Feedback and Takeaways

Based on my participation and learnings, here are some key points I wanted to highlight:

- Partnerships between all stakeholders are crucial for coordinated and sustainable support. Best practice and resource sharing should be emphasized.

- Investments into refugee-hosting communities critical when it comes to livelihoods, healthcare, education etc. The burden needs to be shared more equitably locally.  

- While humanitarian aid is vital, longer-term solutions addressing root causes also need to be pursued - e.g. conflict resolution, peace-building efforts, development assistance.

The Global Refugee Forum allows the world to come together and address this crisis through collaboration and innovation. While progress was made, there is still much work to be done for exiled and displaced populations worldwide.


Concluding words of Mr Cheng Laban Ndoh, the Director of Great Step Initiative

Attending this forum was an eye-opening and inspiring experience for me. Witnessing the passion and solidarity towards addressing this humanitarian crisis gives me hope that, with continuous engagement from all stakeholders, we can work towards more promising solutions for the future.