Building Hope for Refugees: Insights from ADRA’s Delegation at the Global Refugee Forum

Examining the Global Compact on Refugees and Working Towards Lasting Solutions

The Global Refugee Forum is an international event that takes place every four years. It brings together states, international organizations, refugees, civil society, faith-based organizations, academia, and the private sector for a three-day meeting to assess the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees. Approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2018, this document establishes principles for collaboration with refugees in a world plagued by increasing crises.

Presently, there are 114 million people, including women, men, children, and the elderly, who have been affected by wars and political crises and find themselves seeking refuge. Whether they are on the move, living in camps, or staying in host communities for extended periods, there is often limited hope for change or a return home. This year, the Global Refugee Forum is being held in Geneva, Switzerland. 3,500 delegates are evaluating the global situation, discussing challenges in working with refugees, and making pledges that will guide their organizations and governments in enhancing the quality of life for the underprivileged over the next four years.

Pictures: ADRA representatives at the Globel Refugee Forum 2023. Cate Blanchett, Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, also visited the ADRA booth. Pictures: ADRA Europe.

ADRA’s Involvement in Addressing the Refugee Crisis and Promoting Integration

ADRA has sent a delegation to the forum in order to share their knowledge and experiences gained from working directly with refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Colombia, Brazil, Thailand, and others. To give you an idea of the topics, on the first day, I attended workshops on faith-based initiatives, the localization in Refugee activities, and the Impact of Climate Change on Refugees or migration.

Europe has become a new home for millions of refugees over the last decade, as conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Venezuela, and various African countries as well as most recently Ukraine escalated.

Europe as a New Home: ADRA’s Efforts in Assisting Refugees

Nearly all 30 ADRA offices in Europe are involved in domestic programs aimed at assisting refugees, including protection and integration projects. They also collaborate with partners abroad in camp management, education, protection, healthcare, psycho-social support, and basic needs provision. ADRA, as a Christian organization, is dedicated to fulfilling its mission by exemplifying “Compassion, Justice, and Love” when serving those in crisis.

Resolving Conflicts and Fighting for Peace: The Ultimate Goal in the Global Refugee Crisis

The Global Refugee Forum represents a crucial step towards providing perspectives for those who have lost everything. Barriers that impede their daily lives must be dismantled, and their integration into host countries must be strengthened. Most importantly, the peace process in conflict-ridden nations needs to be expedited. The highest aspiration of those seeking refuge is to return to their homes and live secure and dignified lives.

The fact that there are 114 million suffering individuals should be sufficient evidence that we need to change how we treat each other. All of our efforts should be directed toward resolving conflicts and fighting for peace. This is the only fight that truly matters, a fight without weapons, suffering, or death.

Thomas Petracek, ADRA Europe Head of Programs