In 2019, more than 80 entities pledged to support refugee and host communities through sport in response to a new global framework for refugee response.

The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) is an international framework for strengthened cooperation and solidarity with refugees and affected host communities. It specifically recognises the contribution of sport and sporting entities in the ensuring the protection and well-being of refugees.

The GCR sets out to broaden the base of entities engaging in refugee response and become a catalyst for actors from the private sector, faith-based organisations, cities, academic institutions, and the world of sport, amongst others, to engage. It provides a unique opportunity to transform the way the world responds to refugee situations by benefiting both refugees and communities that host them.

Paragraph 44 the GCR specifically recognises “the important role that sports […] can play in social development, inclusion, cohesion, and well-being for refugee children (both boys and girls), adolescents and youth, as well as older persons and persons with disabilities”. The Compact emphasises that new partnerships will be essential to increase access to sporting activities in refugee-hosting areas.

The Global Refugee Forum

Following the affirmation of the Global Compact on Refugees by the world’s governments in 2018, the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) was established. The GRF is an opportunity for states and other actors to come together every four years to share good practices and contribute financial support, technical expertise and policy changes, to further the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees.

The first GRF took place in December 2019, and around 3,000 participants from various countries, international organisations, companies, foundations, civil society organisations, refugee and sport organisations participated. UNHCR and the Olympic Refuge Foundation coordinated activities that highlighted the important role that sport can play as a tool for the protection and inclusion of displaced people.

Looking Forward to GRF 2023

The second Global Refugee Forum will take place in December 2023. The Sport for Refugees Coalition has established a multi-stakeholder reference group to co-create a refreshed Joint Sport Pledge to be announced at the event. The reference group includes refugees, International Federations, National Olympic Committees, Non-Governmental Organisations, academia and private sector actors.

If you are interested in committing to the pledge, reach out to us at [email protected]

For more information on the upcoming pledges and the Global Refugee Forum 2023 please visit:

Image by Ahmed Akacha.