This story was written by the ILO Newsroom For official ILO statements and speeches, please visit our “Statements and Speeches” section.

2023 Global Refugee Forum

Scale up decent work for refugees and host communities says ILO

The key role of employment in building the self-reliance of refugees and strengthening their protection was discussed at the 2023 Global Refugee Forum.

News | 13 December 2023
© ILO
GENEVA (ILO News) – The key role of employment and decent work in the protection and self-reliance of refugees and host communities has been highlighted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) at the 2023 Global Refugee Forum held from 13-15 December.

Held every four years, the Forum is the world’s largest international gathering on refugees. It is designed to support the practical implementation of the objectives set out in the Global Compact on Refugees.

In mid-2023 there were 110 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 36.4 million of whom were refugees. Delegates at the Forum stressed the importance of tackling the growing global displacement crisis by linking humanitarian actions with a development and peace-building approach.

A key outcome of the meeting was a Multistakeholder Pledge on Economic Inclusion and Social Protection, led by the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative that brings together Denmark, Germany, Mexico, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, USA, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa. As a technical co-convener the ILO supports the Pledge members in creating supportive environments through legal and policy reforms and implementation.

As part of this multi-stakeholder pledge, the Netherlands announced €800 million in funding for the second phase of the Partnership for improving prospects for forcibly displaced persons and host communities (PROSPECTS), an innovative partnership bringing together the ILO, UNHCR, UNICEF, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.

During the Forum’s high-level side event, Mia Seppo, ILO Assistant Director-General, emphasized that the creation of decent jobs need to take a comprehensive approach facilitating market access, enterprise development, financial inclusion, skills development and recognition, and social protection.

The ILO is also one with the UN family in promoting refugee inclusion and moving away from siloed approaches towards coherent action involving 50 UN Country Teams and 32 UN agencies, over half of which committed to support access to decent work for refugees.

At the high-level launch of the UN Common Pledge 2.0, Manuela Tomei, ILO Assistant Director-General, underscored the need to enhance the inclusion of refugees and ensure that the world of work becomes inclusive and accessible to all. Particular emphasis is placed on addressing the unique challenges encountered by women, youth, and persons with disabilities.


At the Forum, the ILO presented Portraits from PROSPECTS, Visualizing change in host and refugee communities. The photo exhibition showcased improved self-reliance and resilience in host and refugee communities and highlighting the ILO's work in promoting inclusive socio-economic growth and decent work, while involving the tripartite constituents.