Eirene Chen (RPCV Uzbekistan 2000-2001), who had just finished volunteering in a refugee camp in Greece through our overseas program with NPCA, represented our affiliate as part of UNHCR’s Annual Consultations for NGOs at its Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, July 3-5.
Chen was the first representative from NPCA to be so honored.
Her report is must reading for anyone working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Meet Chen in person at our panel discussion at the Kennedy Center’s celebration of its extension, “The Reach,” on 9/22 at 2:30. She has extensive experience in the field and lots of ideas about how RPCVs can make a difference globally.
Read Chen’s report here:
Report from Peace Corps Community for Refugees at:
“Working Together, Better”
3-5 July 2019, Geneva, Switzerland
In July 2019, Ms. Eirene Chen (RPCV Uzbekistan 2000-01) represented the Peace Corps Community for Refugees at the 2019 UNHCR Annual Consultations for NGOs. Ms. Chen attended as Field Representative of PCC4Refugees’ Greece Refugee Protection Initiative, where she served as a senior forced migration and development specialist at the Lesvos office of HIAS Greece from January to June 2019.
Convened each summer by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at its Geneva headquarters, this invitation-only Annual NGO Consultation is a global flagship event for NGOs working around the world to assist all people forcibly displaced by violence, conflict, environmental and human-created disasters. Each year, over 500 people from approximately 300 organizations and 120 countries participate in the weeklong discussions. This is the first year in which PCC4Refugees has participated in the UNHCR Annual Consultations for NGOs.
The 2019 Consultations focused on how data and evidence-based strategies can improve displacement risk analysis, refugee protection, and economic empowerment of displaced and stateless people. Refugee youth helped rapporteur the event, which linked actors and systems, identified priority gaps, and brainstormed possible NGO contributions for sharing at UNHCR’s upcoming Global Refugee Forum in December 2019. Videos, concept notes and presentations from the Annual NGO Consultations are available on the event website.
The UNHCR High Commissioner and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection opened the plenary discussions. The High Commissioner thanked participants, summarized progress made in operationalizing the Global Compact for Refugees in line with the 2030 Agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals and called for humanitarian refugee protection actors to collaborate with allies in the development, peace and security sectors. The Assistant High Commissioner for Protection underlined the need to foreground refugee experiences and wellbeing through safeguards enshrined in international refugee and human rights law. The Assistant High Commissioner for Operations presented updates on the agency’s global field operations. Finally, the Deputy High Commissioner explained UNHCR’s decision to establish new regional hubs in Panama, Dakar, Nairobi, Pretoria, Amman and Bangkok, in line with UN and global humanitarian reforms.
During the Consultations, PCC4Refugees participated in the following breakout sessions:
- Information for Risk Analysis, Early Warning and Preparedness
- Statelessness Data and Evidence
- Connecting People and Data in Support of Evidence-Informed Outcomes
- Protecting Rights in Mixed Movements – Practical and Principled Responses in the Post-Compacts Era
- Broadening the Base of Support – Cities and Local Authorities
- Building Bridges to Inclusion and Quality through Education
Additionally, PCC4Refugees accepted invitations to join two side events:
UNHCR’s 7th Annual Strategic Litigation Roundtable, co-hosted by HIAS and Asylum Access. This annual day-long event convened 80 legal professionals, academics and advocates from the UN and NGOs to discuss how strategic litigation and other legal interventions advance the rights of all persons in need of international protection.
UNHCR Latin America/Caribbean Regional Breakfast, organized by UNHCR’s Bureau for the Americas. Some 60 representatives of refugee protection NGOs operating in the Americas discussed the ongoing displacement crises in Venezuela, the Northern Triangle and their impacts on bordering countries, including the United States.
This dynamic, rich event was well worth attending for PCC4Refugees, which met with UN teams and peer organizations from all over the world to exchange experiences, lessons and best practices on how to best assist refugees in countries of displacement and asylum. Many people expressed interest in learning how RPCVs and US civil society are supporting asylum seekers domestically and overseas. PCC4Refugees is looking forward to contributing at further international fora!