Multistakeholder Pledge: Connectivity for Refugees
More than ever before, forcibly displaced communities are articulating, with urgency, the importance of connectivity as a basic and fundamental need and a right. In a fast-evolving digital world, increasingly diverse communities are using connectivity as a gateway for everything from accessing life-saving information to learning online, benefiting from digital services, and finding sources of livelihoods. However, in the absence of a holistic response to connectivity challenges facing forcibly displaced populations, many are still left behind.
The pledge recognises the generous commitments made at the GRF 2019 towards enhancing connectivity and seeks to renew and expand support in this area. The pledge builds upon the outcomes of the High-Level Officials Meeting (HLOM), including the Recommendation 5 calling for investment in sustainable energy in refugee-hosting areas, Recommendation 8 highlighting the need to strengthen private sector engagement support, including though application of technologies and business innovations in connectivity, and Recommendation 14 focused on expanding quality education through digitalisation and connected classrooms.
The pledge aims to galvanize concrete commitments from Member States, the private sector, international organizations, and other stakeholders to accelerate efforts to advance connectivity as both a community need and a keystone of digital transformation in the humanitarian sector.
This pledge will serve as a platform to promote synergies and matching opportunities between pledging entities and other stakeholders to fulfil implementation of pledges, mobilize resources, share best practices, ensure progress monitoring, and promote accountability related to key areas to help catalyse connectivity efforts in humanitarian contexts. Commitments will be evidence-informed and supported by relevant programs, technical assistance, and financing mechanisms.
Together, with and for communities, supporters commit to taking action in the following thematic areas:
- Law and policy: Fostering an enabling regulatory environment for building and expanding connectivity infrastructure, along with lifting legal barriers to individual access to services.
- Connectivity solutions: Understanding connectivity levels and needs in refugee hosting areas, provision of connectivity infrastructure, piloting new business models for advancing connectivity and devising an evidence-base pathway for sustainable connectivity solutions.
- Connecting key facilities: Ensuring key facilities in refugee-hosting areas such as schools, health centres and community centres are connected to the Internet and that there is access to devices and relevant content.
Detailed pledge examples will be provided across the three core areas that can be adapted by organizations looking to pledge around Connectivity for Refugees.
- UN Common Pledge 2.0
- Economic inclusion and Social Protection
- Unlocking the Digital Economy and Employment Opportunities for Refugees
- Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP)
- Complementary education and labour mobility pathways, TVET and connected higher education pledges
- Closing the Digital Gender Gap
- Digital Protection: Prevention of the Harmful Impact of Misinformation
The pledge is co-convened by UNHCR, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the GSMA and the Government of Luxembourg.
- TBD: Launch of UNHCR’s Digital Transformation Strategy
- July: Pledge launch
- September 2023: Broadband Commission Meetings
- October 2023: Mobile World Congress Africa
- December: Partner2Connect Annual Meeting