Pledge advances and good practices in public health

Advancing Public Health Solidarity on the Road to the Global Refugee Forum 2023
Good Practices

Pledge advances and good practices in public health

Advancing Public Health Solidarity on the Road to the Global Refugee Forum 2023

The project in brief

The project was implemented by UNHCR's Public Health Section. Analyzed pledges were submitted after the GRF 2019 until 30 June 2023.

In the context of advancing public health initiatives on the path leading to the second Global Refugee Forum (GRF) 2023, which will take place on 13-15 December in Geneva (Switzerland), this document aims to reflect on the progress made in the implementation of health-related pledges, highlight best practices from selected pledges and discuss the way forward. This document was developed based on official progress reports submitted by pledging entities.

The advances made in implementing the health-related pledges are embedded in global efforts to enhance the health and well-being of refugees and host communities. In the past four years, new global commitments for the inclusion of refugees in national health systems have been made. Milestones included the Rabat Declaration endorsed by 49 States during the Third Global Consultation on the Health of Refugees and Migrants in June 2023 in Morocco, as well as the Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage “Universal health coverage: expanding our ambition for health and well-being in a post-COVID world".

Main activities of the Good Practice

As we approach the Global Refugee Forum 2023, the advancements made in implementing these 96 health pledges underscore the global commitment to addressing the health challenges faced by refugees, other forcibly displaced and stateless persons and their hosting communities. However, bold new commitments are required to advance towards the Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. New and existing pledges from refugee hosting countries require financial, material and technical support from States and other partners to support their implementation and achieve sustainable change.

In support of this, WHO and UNHCR are convening the Group of Friends of Health for Refugees and Host Communities comprised of States, refugees, private sector partners, NGOs, academia and international organisations.

The Group is fostering multistakeholder pledges to achieve sustainable inclusion into national health systems, to strengthen national health services and to systematically include mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) actions in the response to achieve lasting change for refugees and host communities alike.

Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice include:

That these pledges are either multisectoral pledges including health or direct pledges in the wider domain of public health. Pledges fall broadly in three domains: inclusion in strengthened national health systems, with a focus on public health including mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and nutrition.

Significant achievements towards inclusion in national health policies and systems, strengthening national and local health services, and enhancing equitable accessibility to health services at affordable costs.

What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


Multiple pledges that were submitted had no official update on the status of their implementation. Moreover, some pledge advancements were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How they were overcome

Channeled efforts to pledges that reported official updates. Additionally, the pandemic has also provided opportunities to put innovative approaches into practice and demonstrate the added benefit and creative strategies to ensure refugees are gainfully included in national and global health responses to advance health for all, including hosting communities.

Results of the Good Practice

Good health is central for every person's well-being and everyone has the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, including refugees and their host communities. As part of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), States and other stakeholders have committed to contribute resources and expertise to expand and enhance the quality of national health systems to facilitate effective and equitable access by refugees and host communities.

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

  • Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
  • Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

Submitted by

Sandra Harlass, Senior Public Health Officer, UNHCR Public Health Section ([email protected]); Miguel Chollet, Assistant Project Officer UNHCR Public Health Section ([email protected])

Contact the project

[email protected]; [email protected]