September 26, 2018

World’s first global cross-sector coalition launches refugee self-reliance initiative at UN General Assembly

The Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative announced its aim to reach five million refugees, in five years, with a specific focus on self-reliance.

On the sidelines of the 2018 UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative (AHI), RefugePoint and the Women’s Refugee Commission partnered to host a forum titled, “Better Lives Now: Leveraging Refugees’ Talents” to launch the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative, a joint effort by a coalition of organisations, government agencies, foundations, research institutes and other partners focused on promoting opportunities for refugees to become self-reliant.

The Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative announced its aim to reach five million refugees, in five years, with a specific focus on self-reliance. The organisation will also create and validate a new measurement tool - the Self Reliance Index - to raise awareness about and to chart progress of refugees towards self-reliance.

Noubar Afeyan, Founder and CEO, Flagship Pioneering; Co-Founder, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative said: “We strongly believe in the great potential of refugees to positively transform the world – especially those who experience horrors and violence. I know because our Armenian ancestors did it. We are pleased to be part of The Self Reliance Initiative as it is a powerful humanitarian initiative that will raise awareness about refugees as a most invaluable resource in addressing the issues facing them globally.” 

According to the UNHCR, the average length of refugee displacement is 20 years, with 80% of refugees hosted in developing countries. This event highlighted the steps that can be taken by the private sector, host and donor governments, refugee self-help groups and aid community to help refugees participate economically and socially in their host countries to live better lives.

Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation New York; Co-Founder, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative said: “We are pleased to support the Self-Reliance Initiative because it aligns closely with the goals and objectives of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, a commitment to our shared humanity and to provide support and hope to those in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid in the world. It’s important to raise awareness of thoughtful, innovative global solutions about the needs of refugees to ensure we all find ways to help.”

Sasha Chanoff, Founder and Executive Director, RefugePoint said: “The world needs new solutions for refugees at this time of unprecedented crisis with more than 25 million displaced for an average of 20 years. With innovative programming and measures for success, The Refugee Self Reliance Initiative aims to reach five million refugees in five years, putting them on a path to self-reliance and making concrete the aspirations of The Global Compact on Refugees.”

Sarah Costa, Executive Director, Women’s Refugee Commission said: “Promoting self-reliance for refugees and displaced populations matters now more than ever. It is what refugees want. It is the part of the change the humanitarian system needs.”

The ‘Better Lives Now’ launch event intended to build on and respond to the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which will be considered for adoption by member states during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and includes ‘enhancing self-reliance’ for refugees as an objective.  

back to list