Multistakeholder Pledge: Shifting Power - Advancing Localization of Research and Elevating the Voices of Host and Forcibly Displaced Communities Globally

Multi-stakeholder pledges - Cross-cutting

Multistakeholder Pledge: Shifting Power - Advancing Localization of Research and Elevating the Voices of Host and Forcibly Displaced Communities Globally

Key outcome

The core objective of this coalition is to contribute to more effective and rights-based responses to forced displacement by investing in and amplifying locally produced knowledge and quality partnerships with academia in support of the implementation of the GCR.

Research led by those with local knowledge and/or lived experience of forced displacement produces evidence that reflects local realities, is considered more legitimate by local stakeholders and leads to more effective and reliable interventions in protection, assistance and solutions.

This pledge serves as a starting point to longer-term engagement and vision for the localization of knowledge, tertiary education and community outreach efforts in the context of displacement. No one should be left behind in the development, design, deployment and dissemination of research projects, development programs, education opportunities and policy proposals.

The ultimate goal is to redistribute power and opportunities towards communities with lived experience and scholars based in low and middle-income countries most affected by displacement. We recognize that their knowledge, insights and expertise will advance scholarship and policy change in the fields of forced displacement, statelessness, human rights, and beyond.


In response to the increasing scale and complexity of forced displacement, a range of initiatives have emerged to support and mobilize research and knowledge produced by those closest to phenomena of forced displacement. These efforts align with commitments to international cooperation and responsibility-sharing enshrined in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), given that over 74 per cent of the world’s forcibly displaced are hosted in low- and middle-income countries.

At the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges and Development Cooperation (HCD) in 2022, a coalition of institutions pledged their commitment4 to enhance teaching, research, and community outreach in contexts of forced displacement.

Building on this commitment, the coalition aims to engage more actors to develop a joint and transformative pledge to be announced at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in December 2023. This pledge will support diverse forms of academic engagement to amplify the voices of those with lived experience of and closest to forced displacement in national, regional and global policy discussions.

Pledge description

The coalition commits to developing a pledge in partnership with research actors and academic institutions in countries facing major displacement situations. It will leverage the diverse expertise of its members, strengthen collaboration and amplify results of local research in global policy discussions, such as the GRF and the High-Level Officials Meeting.

The coalition aims to expand its membership to include a wider range of stakeholders, particularly persons with lived experience of displacement, the private sector, academic institutions and governments, who are crucial to realizing the transformative vision for this pledge.

The coalition further commits to track the implementation of the pledge and share information on its impact on the lives of forcibly displaced persons.

Acknowledging that no single voice can represent the diverse range of lived experiences and individuals based in low- and middle-income countries, and recognizing that universities play a vital role in bridging knowledge, communities, and policymakers, relevant stakeholders are invited to join the efforts to achieve and surpass the goals of the 15by30 campaign. The campaign aims to ensure that at least 15% of refugees have access to tertiary education by 2030 through the following actions:

  1. Invest in the capacity of institutions in low and middle-income countries through flexible and fit-for-purpose funding for:
  2. Connect the beneficiaries of this investment through:
    • Networks to support North-South & South-South exchanges and equal collaborations, and the participation of academics with lived experience of displacement and from low- and middle-income countries in global policy fora
    • Mentoring programmes for early career scholars in forced displacement contexts
    • North-South exchange and visiting professorships programmes between universities
  3. Amplify and make use of the knowledge produced through these initiatives by:
    • Creating spaces and platforms for this knowledge to inform policymaking at all levels, including by producing Data and Evidence to inform law, policy and programmes promoting economic Inclusion and Social Protection of refugees.
    • Developing new curricula on displacement, statelessness and human rights issues across different university departments in low and middle-income countries
    • Tracking progress of the pledge and make relevant information publicly available

In the lead-up to the Global Refugee Forum 2023, the coalition will a) Foster new partnerships that build on and expand existing initiatives; b) Identify new initiatives that advance the objectives detailed in this note; and c) encourage additional stakeholders and partners to make commitments and investments in support of a planned joint pledge for the Global Refugee Forum 2023.

How to be recognized as a contributor to Shifting Power Multi-Stakeholder Pledge:

  1. Submit a pledge on the GRF pledging dashboard.
  2. Indicate “#ShiftingPower” in the pledge description.

IDRC, as part of their commitment to localization and bridging gaps between the Global North and the Global South, has published the article “Localization: A journey out of a research funder’s comfort zone”, which provides guidance on how donors can ensure that localization interventions are more effective, meaningful and build on local knowledge and capacities. 


Related pledges to match

This initiative builds upon the momentum generated during the HCD in 2022 and aims to scale up successful practices, including:

  • The De Mello Chairs model, a collaborative effort between UNHCR and academia focusing on teaching, research, and community outreach. Currently active in 46 universities across Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, and the United Kingdom, this model serves as a valuable example of effective collaboration. 

    • GRF00322: Meaningful Refugee Participation Pledge


  • Open Societies Foundation’s programme for academic engagement in policy making and the work of R-SEAT (Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table), both of which support more inclusive leadership ecosystems. 
    • Filling a GAP: limited pledges on data and producing evidence to inform policy 


  • Ongoing initiatives based on actionable research and led by those closer to forced displacement and with lived experience - such as the Calcutta Research Group, DIGNITY Kwanza, RESAMA, AUB4Refugees Initiative, U.S. Refugee Advisory Board, the Refugee Advisory Network of Canada, and the New Zealand Refugee Advisory Panel.  

    • GRF00047: University Corridors for Refugees 

    • GRF00549 and GRF00554: Access to Tertiary Education through the DAFI programme 


  • DAFI scholarships and university corridors to facilitate access to and stay in tertiary education for forcibly displaced persons.  

    • GRF01172: Generating Rigorous Research to Promote Solutions, and Providing Educational Opportunities for Scholars from Refugee Background 


  • Guidelines on Co-produced Research with Refugees and Other People with Lived Experience of Displacement led by the Emerging Scholars Network at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales, Australia. 

    • GRF00322: Meaningful Refugee Participation Pledge 


  • Innovative models such as the Oxford Refugee-Led Research Hub (RLRH) in Nairobi, which empowers scholars and researchers from displaced communities to lead knowledge production and decision-making in the field of Forced Migration Studies. 

    • Filling a GAP: responsibility sharing by bridging resources from the Global North to the Global South 


  • The investment of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to support 12 Research Chairs on Forced Displacement across the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia and Latin America, including a De Mello Chair in the Caribbean, to advance independent research agendas relevant to local contexts, and a network to amplify the impact of the individual chairs.  

    • GRF01350: Scholarships as Technical Support and Scientific Initiation for Refugees 

    • GRF01445: Scholarship, Training and Support to the GAIN Secretariat 


  • Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network (GAIN)
  • Sergio Vieira de Mello Chairs (De Mello Chairs)
  • Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN)
  • International Development Research Centre – Canada (IDRC)
  • German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)


  • IDRC Research Chairs
  • Refugee-Led Research Hub, University of Oxford
  • Forced Migration and Refugee Studies: Networking and Knowledge Transfer (FFVT)
  • Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table (R-SEAT)
  • Tertiary Refugee Students Network (TRSN)
  • U.S Refugee Advisory Board (USRAB)
  • Sanremo International Institute of Humanitarian Law
  • International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM)
  • Organization of Women Scientists for the Developing World (OWSD)

Contact details

[email protected]


Contributions towards this multi-stakeholder pledge