Between the 3rd and 5th July, the UNHCR-NGO Annual consultations brought more than 500 international, national and local NGOs from all over the world, and IFMSA was actively present, represented by the Liaison Officer for Human Rights & Peace Issues and 3 delegates.
On the 2nd of July, we attended the Strategic Litigation Roundtable, which addressed how strategic litigation and other legal interventions are advancing the rights of refugees and IDPs. Our delegates participated actively and opened a discussion about the obstacles refugee healthcare professionals face in their right to work.
The consultations started the morning of the 3rd of July with an opening plenary with the High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi. The plenary was followed by a session with the assistant high commissioner on protection, in which the challenges to refugees’ safety and the protection efforts provided by UNHCR and other NGOs were discussed. IFMSA raised a question about the safety of vulnerable groups within the refugee populations, such as women, children and LGBTQIA+ individuals. The day continued with multiple parallel sessions among which were sessions tackling the difficulties of data collection about IDPs and statelessness, how can NGOs and UNHCR coordinate their work through given standards to achieve efficient outcomes.
The second day began with a session with the assistant high commissioner on operations. This session was followed by parallel workshops and sessions. One of the workshops that our delegates attended was about how to make best use of the data and information collected and interpret them in a way to be beneficial for the target populations. In another workshop, we got to share our experiences on preventing sexual misconduct and challenging societal norms. Our delegates also attended sessions about protecting rights in mixed movements, as well as another session tackling the use of social media as a powerful tool of change.
The last day was dedicated to discuss the first Global Refugee Forum (to be held in December this year). The day started with the opening plenary, a panel dedicated to broadening base support. Our delegates then joined multiple sessions. One of the sessions discussed the challenges pertaining to the inclusion of refugees and persons of concern. Another session focused on “Islamic Social Finance” in which the discussion focused on how to utilize this fundraising potential to realize humanitarian values.
Afterwards we attended a session in which we discussed how could NGOs contribute Refugees’ access to solutions as stated in the GCR and the consultations were wrapped with a closing ceremony.