Localization and Climate Action: UNHCR Global Consultations with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) – Concept Note – Global

Geneva and online, June 7-10, 2022

Introduction

In 2022, the UNHCR Global NGO Consultations will take place in Geneva and online (hybrid format) from 7-10 June 2022. The themes of the Global NGO Consultation are “Climate Action” and “Localization”. These themes build on UNHCR’s strategic framework for climate action and the 2021 regional consultations with NGOs, which focused on localizing humanitarian action and, in many cases, also considered the intersection with climate action, recognizing the critical engagement of local actors. These themes were also discussed during the 2021 monthly online consultations.

Climate action and localization

The climate crisis is already increasing vulnerability, driving more displacement, and intensifying protection and other challenges for people forced to flee. Indeed, disasters displace millions of people each year, including those already in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Most stay in their country of residence, while those crossing borders in search of safety and assistance tend to move to neighboring countries.

UNHCR and much of the humanitarian sector are committed to “strengthening national and local humanitarian action” and, therefore, working towards greater localization that includes organizations formed and managed by those affected. The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed that this approach is essential as these groups, often first responders, provide support and services in areas where UNHCR and NGOs have limited or no access. However, the modalities for developing localized responses are multifaceted and often slow to take root and must go well beyond allocating additional resources to national NGOs to deliver services.

Localization should include improving communication channels, supporting existing capacities and strengthening mutual learning between local and international actors. More emphasis should be placed on dismantling barriers to participation. Climate action is at the core, as is Localization, based on inclusive approaches and accountability to those affected. It should aim to amplify local/marginalised voices in the face of related challenges and should strive to ensure equitable access to assistance and protection, as well as decision-making for all people UNHCR serves .

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