Date of Meeting: 18 Feb 2016

Meeting Organizer: DPI NGO

ISJC Staff Present: Luke Cozens, Robert Docter

Reporter: Robert Docter

Which SDG does this topic cover? 1, 4, 8, 10, 16, 17

Type of meeting: DPINGO Briefing

Brief summary of presentation of information made

Opening Remarks – Moderator, Maher Nasser

  • This crisis encompasses not just one area, but the entire world.
  • Includes those fleeing lands because of environmental reasons.

Ninette Kelley, Director at UNHCR in New York

  • UNHCR is working with 900 partners, with 700 on the ground on the refugee crisis.
  • UNHCR provided video – showing ground coverage and present day statistics on refugees.
    • 60 million displaced, highest since WWII (60 million would actually make up the 24th largest country in the world)
    • 2014 – 42,500 people forced to fell a day ~ 13.9 million at year’s end. This ended up being four times more than total numbers in 2013.
    • One refugee describes the voyage as “you buy death for one-thousand dollars a person”
    • By the end of 2014 – 38.2 million were internally displaced.
    • 2014 – There were 1.7 million asylum seeking applications.

Karen AbuZayd, Special Advisor on the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants

  • This Summit will occur at the General Assembly in September 2016, Ms. AbuZayd was appointed this year as special advisor.
  • The summit, organized by the UN, will look at:
    • Analyzing why people are leaving – from region to region
    • Mapping out the routes people are traveling – refugees, migrants, and displaced – in all parts of the world.
    • It will help communicate statistics, and call for better, more reliable forms of data collection.

Predrag Avramovic, First Counsellor, Head of Humanitarian Section, European Union (EU)

  • In order for the EU to remain, it must continue moral obligation to meet refugees’ needs.
  • The political strain of the refugee crisis could have significant political implications for the political stability of the European Union.
  • The EU runs an operation called SOLAS (Saving Of Lives At Sea) which often rescues those trying to migrate across the Mediterranean.
  • EU currently working/making new policies. In particular there are issues around the internal relocation of refugees within the EU and shared responsibility for external boarders including a coastguard.
  • An important priority at the moment is border rules of the EU countries. Currently there is a “Schengen zone” allowing free movement between many European countries. New border controls may threat the existence of this zone which would have economic and political consequences for the EU.
  • Dialogue between countries needs enhancement. There is a need for a coherent and enforceable policy.
  • There’s currently a demographic decline of Europeans, a decline of skills workers in Europe.
  • EU works towards avoiding conflict and to resolve current conflict. For issues still existent, the humanitarian needs to be met – including livelihood support and education opportunities.

Samantha Sottoli, UNICEF Representative

  • UNHCR statistic – Middle East has 4.7 million refugees, where half are children. 
  • South Sudan’s 223,000 refugees are 2/3 children.
  • UNICEF’s work on the ground includes:
    • Coordination, capacity building, and developing protocols
    • Working towards getting kids back into school
    • Instilling rapid family tracing (RFT) efforts
    • Psychosocial support services - child friendly spaces, water and sanitation, food and nutrition.
  • UNICEF and UNHCR working together in seeking out this population, and working to educating them on the services applicable for them.
  • UNICEF is currently facing the following barriers in this issue:
    • Political issues of the countries prohibiting work and help
    • Reliable data collecting tools and information.
    • Providing rapid and timely services. i.e. refugee children are constantly moving in some cases.

Regarding future plans, UNICEF is working towards a global program strategy, for further advocacy work on the crisis à fighting for 3 ultimate goals:

  1. Making it a duty of all states to protect children before, during, and after their journey. 
  2. Children are the first peoples treated in any circumstance.
  3. Principle of family unity – no child should be separated from his/her family.

Neil Grungras, Executive Director at ORAM (Organization for Refugee, Asylum, and Migration)

  • He skyped in the meeting, living at the heart of the crisis in Turkey
  • ORAM works specifically with LGBTQI refugees around the world – a group of people prone to additional violence, lack of services, and danger.
  • Works with others NGOs and UN agencies in providing services to refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • TSA to look in partnerships with UN agencies with their work in Europe, Northern Africa, and other areas prone to refugees, and create partnerships and enhanced services for these people.

  • TSA to develop fast-acting services to refugees, a population of people often on-the-go.

  • There’s need for education and services to children. TSA continues valuable work with children around the world – and can pursue on-the-site service provisions for children displaced from homes.

  • Continued advocacy is needed. TSA holds a special voice and viewpoint due to its work on the ground and around the world.  

Web links for more information


UNICEF + Refugee Crisis


Tags: United Nations, SDG10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG1: No Poverty, SDG4: Quality Education, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals