Forced Migration

Forced displacement was ICVA's first focus area in 1962 and remains highly relevant today as the ICVA network responds to the overwhelming number of displaced persons.  In line with the 2015-2018 Strategy, ICVA promotes improved protection, assistance and durable solutions for refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and vulnerable migrants.

There are many opportunities for NGOs to engage in ICVA’s portfolio on Forced Displacement. These include:

  • UNHCR’s Governing Board
i. ExCom
ii. SCOM
iii. Conclusions
  • UNHCR-NGO Annual Consultations
  • The High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges
  • NGO Partnership with UNHCR
i. Structured Dialogue
ii. Implementing Framework
  • The Nansen Refugee Awards
4.     NGOs and IOM



1. ICVA's Forced Migration Working Group

ICVA supports collective NGO advocacy by facilitating statements, position and action on critical issues pertaining to forced displacement.

ICVA has a Forced Migration Working Group (previously UNHCR Working Group) for its members to advise the ICVA Secretariat on its work related to the forced migration  focus areas as laid out in the 2019-2021 Strategy. Members who would like to join this group can contact for further information. This group meets on a monthly basis.


2. Towards a Global Refugee Compact (follow-up to the 19 September 2016 Summit/CRRF)

On 19 September 2016, at the UN Summit on Addressing Large Scale Movements of Refugees and Migrants, 193 Member States unanimously adopted the New York Declaration, a common plan for addressing large scale movements of refugees and migrants. The Declaration highlights the elements of a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and requests UNHCR to engage with States and other stakeholders in its implementation with a view to inform the development of a Global Compact on Refugees to be adopted in 2018. 

As NGOs are key partners and crucial to the execution of UNHCR’s mandate, in the post-19 September era ICVA has taken a lead role in advocating for more strategic and sustained NGO engagement. Meaningful consultation and coordination – globally and at the field level – with NGOs is fundamental for a successful application of the CRRF and to develop a Global Compact on Refugee that brings concrete improvements in the daily experience of refugees.



3. NGOs and UNHCR

UNHCR’s Governing Board

UNHCR's Executive Committee (ExCom) comprised of 101 UN Member States, meets in Geneva annually to review and approve the agency's programme and budget, and discuss protection and operational issues.  ExCom's Standing Committee meets several times a year to carry on the body's work between plenary sessions. ICVA coordinates the development of the joint NGO statements delivered at UNHCR's Executive Committee and Standing Commitee  meetings. ICVA also works with interested NGOs to follow the  negotiation of Conclusions and organises NGO side events at these meetings (further information available on demand).



UNHCR-NGO Annual Consulations

ICVA cooperates with UNHCR in the organization of the UNHCR-NGO Annual Consultations. It ensures NGOs are consulted and included in the process, from selecting the theme of the consultations, to shaping and convening a session. If you wish to get involved or ask for further details, please contact at


The High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges

This annual event, launched in 2007 by the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, is a unique forum for free and open exchange of views between states, NGOs and other stakeholders. Over the years participants in the Dialogues have addressed a range of protection issues from protracted refugee situations; durable solutions and international migration; protection at sea; understanding and addressing root causes of displacement.

Prior to each Protection Dialogue ICVA forms a “Friends of the Dialogue” group of NGOs who brainstorm ideas of participation and key advocacy messages.


NGO Partnership with UNHCR

Structured Dialogue

At the end of 2011 the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, called for a review of the quality of partnership between UNHCR, IFRC and NGOs and launched a process known as the “High Commissioner’s Structured Dialogue.” The goal of the Dialogue is to achieve mutual respect and trust demonstrated by open communication, transparency in decision making, and clear accountabilities between UNHCR and respective partners. 

The link below provides information on the Dialogue's background, guidance, reports and ongoing initiatives.

Implementing Framework

UNHCR's Implementing Framework provides governing instruments, policies and procedures for establishing and managing partnerships. UNHCR is currently working with NGOs to update the Framework's policies and procedures as they relate to:

  1. Partner selection and retention
  2. Project agreement, design and termination
  3. Project monitoring


The Nansen Refugee Awards

ICVA received the Nansen Award in 1962.  ICVA's Executive Director serves on the Nansen Refugee Award Committee.  Civil society organisations are encouraged to nominate individuals or organisations who spend an extraordinary amount of time and effort to help the forcibly displaced.  Their work goes beyond the call of duty and outside of normal activities; demonstrates courage; and has a direct positive impact on the lives of forcibly displaced or stateless people. 


4. NGOs and IOM

IOM NGO Humanitarian Consultations

Since 2015, ICVA cooperates with IOM to organise the IOM-NGO Humanitarian Consultations. They have now grown into a regular (annual) format that serves as a platform for IOM and NGOs to engage in dialogue, discuss shared values and unity of purpose, identify respective strengths and limitations, reflect on current challenges facing the humanitarian sector, exchange best practices, develop key recommendations to further joint engagement, and examine the realities of the implementation of Principles of Partnership to better foster their application. The IOM-NGO Humanitarian Consultations are meant as a two-way discussion, beneficial to IOM, the NGO partners, and their joint work. If you wish to get further information on the topic, please contact Jérôme Elie at