Tue, 28 Jan 2020

Live blog: Global Refugee Forum -- Day 1

The UN Refugee Agency
16 Dec 2019, 07:57 GMT+10

The first Global Refugee Forum comes at the end of a tumultuous decade in which the number of refugees worldwide has doubled to well over 25 million.

From 16-18 December, the international community is coming together to announce bold, new measures to ease pressures on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, and find lasting solutions for those uprooted from their homes by wars and persecution.

Check back here throughout the day for updates:

Sesame Street heads to the Forum

The Forum is bringing together hundreds of delegates from around the world including refugees, heads of state and government, UN leaders, international institutions, development organizations, business leaders and .... Sesame Street.

Grover -- in UN blue -- made his way to the venue in Geneva on Sunday.

Finding solutions for refugees and host countries

The aim of the Forum is to generate new approaches and long-term commitments from a variety of actors to help refugees and the communities in which they live. One of the priority areas for action is education, in order to help more young refugees like Sidra, a star student from Syria, to fulfil their potential.

Refugee crafts go on sale at Geneva Christmas market

Captivating lampshades, bold jewellery and intricately crafted boxes are among scores of products made by refugee artisans that went on sale in Geneva in the run up to the Global Refugee Forum.

Supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, products made by refugees from about a dozen countries worldwide have gone on sale at the city's Noel aux Bastions and at the local fashion store Bongenie Grieder.

It was made possible by MADE51, a UNHCR initiative that seeks to connect talented displaced artisans from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Burundi, Mali, Somalia and Syria with international outlets for their goods.

Attending the outdoor market, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, thanked Swiss and local partners for helping to make it happen. He was particularly pleased by the interest shown by customers perusing the stalls.

"The presence of our MADE51 Brand at Noël aux Bastions, is a great opportunity to bring the stories behind the products and the concrete objectives of the Global Refugee Forum to the Swiss audience," Grandi said.

The refugee artisans, who are all paid a fair wage for the work, use traditional processes such as hand-hammered copper and bronze to make bowls and bracelets, weaving baskets from grass, and knotting rugs.

"It is heartening to see how the Swiss public is responding to MADE51," said Heidi Christ, UNHCR's Global Lead for MADE51. "Customers are excited to have the opportunity to buy MADE51 products because they are beautifully crafted and make thoughtful gifts."

She added: "By gifting, customers also spread the word to their friends and family that refugees can be talented contributors, if given the opportunity."

For more information, please visit the Global Refugee Forum web page

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