High Commissioner’s Dialogue Protection and Resilience During Pandemics

Navigating protection challenges in response to COVID-19

High Commissioner’s Dialogue Protection and Resilience During Pandemics

Navigating protection challenges in response to COVID-19
21 October 2020

Eighteen-year-old Rohingya refugee and Burmese language instructor Nur Ayna teaches a young student at Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. With the camp's schools temporarily closed because of COVID-19, Nur is providing home-based learning.

This year's High Commissioner’s Dialogue took place across five sessions from 21 October to 9 December 2020.

The Dialogue focused on the significant protection challenges posed by COVID-19, creating an opportunity to discuss new or emerging global protection issues and identify potential solutions.

Structured as a series of informal discussions, the Dialogue gathered states, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, the academic and research community, refugees, and other key stakeholders to build upon the arrangements and principles set out in the Global Compact on Refugees.

The conversations spanned a wide range of pressing themes in the context of the global pandemic, including resilience, inclusion, and climate change.

As well as exploring the challenges posed by COVID-19, each event highlighted new and innovative practices that have been developed to protect the health and wellbeing of people who are displaced.

In 2020, all the sessions were held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.



2020 sessions

21 October 2020: Opening Session

15:00-17:00 (CEST)

The High Commissioner opened the series with a conversation featuring an inspiring group of refugees and an SDG advocate, all of whom are engaged in the response to the pandemic.

Find out more about the participants

4 November 2020: Protection challenges and responses to COVID-19 for and by forcibly displaced and stateless people

15:00-17:00 (CEST)

Building on the opening discussion, this session focused on how COVID-19 has amplified and created new challenges for refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. It also explored how displaced women, men and young people have partnered with local communities, government authorities and humanitarian actors to be part of prevention and response efforts in the context of the pandemic.

2020 Schedule

18 November: Resilience and inclusion in health (emergency and longer-term approaches with reference to COVID-19)

 15:00 – 17:00 (CET)

A panel chaired by the Assistant High Commissioner for Operations explored sustainable and effective ways to support States in achieving the 2030 Agenda goals to promote the health and wellbeing of all populations, including the most marginalized and vulnerable. The panel consisted of two refugee hosting countries, a refugee representative and the World Bank.

2 December 2020: COVID-19 and climate change: what can we learn?

15:00 – 16:30 (CET)

Climate change poses another global emergency with consequences for refugee protection. Reflecting on lessons learned from COVID-19, this session highlighted successful approaches, existing challenges and promising solutions to promote protection, access to services and resilience outcomes for displaced populations and host communities affected by climate change. 

9 December 2020: Next steps and preparing for the future

Following the outcomes of the previous sessions, the final session considered how to address the protection, health and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic on people who are forced to flee, as well as methods to prepare for the future.

Find out more about the High Commisioner's Dialogue