1. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Taeho attended and delivered a keynote speech at the 1st Global Refugee Forum held in Geneva on December 17. In his speech, he expressed the firm commitment of the government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to continued participation in the international community’s efforts to respond to the global refugee issue and presented the ROK government’s pledges and contributions.
ㅇ Vice Minister Lee took note of the Forum as a historic opportunity to generate momentum for the actual realization of the vision presented in the Global Compact on Refugees, which had been adopted in 2018; and reiterated the ROK government’s unwavering support for the Compact.
ㅇ Vice Minister Lee presented the ROK’s following pledges to be implemented by the time of the next Forum in 2023.
- The ROK will continue and indeed seek to expand its humanitarian assistance for refugees and displaced people to ensure greater burden-sharing and responsibility-sharing (Its contribution in 2019 amounted to 74 million dollars).
- The ROK pledges the provision of 12 million dollars from 2020 to 2023 to support international organizations’ projects for responding to sexual violence in conflicts as part of the “Action with Women and Peace” initiative (It includes plans to hold an international conference on an annual basis and implement humanitarian assistance projects).
- The ROK will formalize a mechanism for public-private cooperation on humanitarian assistance to further strengthen cooperation between the government and civil society organizations in responding to the refugee issue.
- The ROK will expand its support for refugees in such a way that contributes to the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus (More than 50 million dollars will be contributed to the Multilateral Development Cooperation Projects from 2019 to 2023).
- The ROK will make continued efforts to strengthen its refugee protection capacity by bolstering the related workforce and infrastructure.
- The ROK will continue to join the common efforts of the international community to find solutions to protracted refugee situations.
2. On the occasion of the 1st Global Refugee Forum, the ROK government, together with civil society organizations, held a Spotlight Session of the Global Refugee Forum titled “A Whole-of-Society Approach in Asia-Pacific: Multi-Stakeholder Partnership in Jobs and Livelihoods from Asia to Africa.” Vice Minister Lee attended this event and delivered opening remarks.
ㅇ Vice Minister Lee iterated the significance of the Asia-Pacific region in global efforts to address refugee crisis. He also underlined the significance of enhancing the economic self-reliance of refugees by supporting their jobs and livelihoods and the importance of collaboration among various stakeholders, including governments, international organizations and civil society partners.
- As the ROK’s good practices in this field, the Vice Minister introduced the projects supported by the ROK government: Uganda Host and Refugee Community Empowerment Project in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Income Generation for Afghan Refugees in Iran in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP); and KOICA’s Humanitarian Partnership Program with Good Neighbors International for Burundian refugees in Tanzania.
3. Vice Minister Lee’s attendance at the Forum is seen to have served as an opportunity to reaffirm the ROK government’s commitment to cooperation in addressing the global refugee issue, one of the key agenda of interest of the international community, and to share with the entire world the ROK’s contribution and good practices in the field.