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Youth empowerment

The Global Refugee Forum 2023 and beyond

From the 13th-15th of December 2023, the 2nd Global Refugee Forum (GRF) took place, and youth were on the agenda! The GRF is a central political forum for achieving the goals set out of the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR), and it is a key forum for shedding light on young people in displacement. Today, we stand amidst the largest generation of young people in history, with 1.9 billion young individuals, 90% residing in the Global South. Thus, it is a critical time to ensure that young people play an integral role in decision-making processes. On this page, you can read about our work to promote meaningful participation of young people towards, during, and beyond GRF 2023.

Global Refugee Forum 2023

GRF 2023 - Young People in Displacement Taking the Lead

A summary of GRF 2023

A summary of GRF 2023

The GRF took place from 13-15 December in Geneva, with 4200 participants (and 10.000+ online) from 168 countries and with actors from various sectors including governments, civil society, the private sector, international institutions and (I)NGOs.

Of these, 300+ people were people with lived experiences from a displacement context (an increase from just 70 at the first GRF in 2019), many of which were young.

Furthermore, young people with lived experiences of displacement were part of all events and debates at the GRF, reflecting an enhancement of the meaningful participation of young people in displacement. 

Youth dialogues in five countries

Youth dialogues in five countries

Building on the the previously held youth dialogues as part of the #WeBelieveInYouth initiative, and leading up to GRF 2023, DRC has been supporting youth-led multistakeholder dialogues in five GRF co-convening and supporting countries; Colombia, Jordan, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and online. The aim of these dialogues was to facilitate discussions between young people and stakeholders such as government entities, the private sector, and NGOs as well as shed light on key issues raised by the youth, including education and access to opportunities.

All consultations resulted in clear, local recommendations and calls to actions from youth, which will contribute to inform DRC and partner’s future work on youth in displacement. Several of the young people who were part of the youth-led dialogues were also present at the GRF. More information about the outcomes of the youth-led dialogues soon!

Event on Youth Leadership in Action

Event on Youth Leadership in Action

Together with partners, DRC and UNHCR co-organised a vibrant and successful linked-event, "Youth Leadership in Action: The Future We Cannot Afford to Ignore" in Geneva on the 12th of December, where one of the moderators was Tarek Hussein, Director of DFUNK – Danish Refugee Councils Youth Network in Denmark. The event featured voices from several young people with a refugee background as well as the Ambassador of Denmark to the United Nations Office in Geneve, the UNFPA Deputy Director of the Humanitarian Response Division, the Incoming UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner, and many other partners of the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action (CYPHA).  We had a special greeting from the newly appointed and the first-ever Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs, Dr. Felipe Paullier. There is a clear momentum on youth - and several pledges on youth participation were presented during the event.

Watch the recording of the event 

Pledging on Youth

A total of 1600 pledges were made at the GRF. Of these DRC has been part of several pledges, ranging promoting refugee self-reliance, promoting legal aid and legal empowerment in humanitarian responses, on localisation, as well as promoting the meaningful participation of refugees including displacement-affected-youth.


In terms of the latter, DRC is part of two multistakeholder pledges on youth in displacement; one as part of the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action (CYPHA), and one as part of the Danish Global Compact for Refugees Coalition including the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You can find all pledges at UNHCR’s Pledge and Contributions Database here. 



A deep-felt thanks to all our partners for all the work and effort put into ensuring that youth in displacement is increasingly gaining momentum and is on the global political agenda! While the youth agenda is increasingly gaining momentum, pushing the agenda even further is critical – and this requires strong partnerships.

DRC is working closely with our partners from UNHCR, the global coalition Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action, the Danish-led With and For Youth network and the Danish GCR Coalition to enhance systemic, meaningful and effective participation of young people and ensuring that young people play an integral part of decision-making processes. 

Read more about the We Believe in Youth

Read more about the With and For Youth 

Read more about the Youth Compact 

Beyond the GRF - Towards a more youth-inclusive future

Beyond the GRF - Towards a more youth-inclusive future

Building on this successful GRF, we are looking forward to the next key events ahead, including the High Level Official's Meeting (HLOM) 2025, the GRF 2027, and first the Summit of the Future in the fall of 2024.

We are excited to build on the successes and key take aways from the GRF as well as the outcomes and learnings from the youth-led multistakeholder dialogues beyond the recent GRF. The enhancement of youth participation as well as the increased focus on youth in displacement at the GRF is paving the way for a more youth-inclusive future! 

Funding opportunities for youth and refugee-led initiatives

Our partner, UNHCR, has created a Grant Agreement for organizations seeks to ensure that displaced and host communities are treated as equal and active partners. It provides grant funding to organizations led by displaced and stateless persons in order to empower them to realize their own projects and build their capacity. 
UNHCR's Refugee-led Innovation Fund proposes a fundamental shift in programme architecture. It takes a grassroot approach whereby people who have experienced forced displacement are directly provided with meaningful financial resources and support to implement innovative approaches.
Read more about Global Youth