Global Protection Cluster High Level Event The State of Protection in the COVID-19 Era

Event description

In the margins of the public health and economic crises with which the world has contended through 2020, COVID-19 ultimately looms as a long-term, far-reaching global protection emergency. Where some of the world’s best-resourced countries have tracked a staggering increase in demand for protection services, people in nations with pre-existing humanitarian crises are grappling with unprecedented compound protection threats and even fewer resources to help mitigate them.

Protection Clusters are reporting heightened risks of forced displacement, a rise in xenophobia and stigmatization, a dramatic increase in gender-based violence, and discrimination in access to health, food, water, education, and legal services for vulnerable and marginalized groups. The largest economic shock the world has experienced in decades is not and will not be felt equally; countries, communities, and individuals at greatest risk must have enhanced access to protection services.

Together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Global Protection Cluster, and with support from PHAP, the Norwegian Refugee Council brought together a High-Level Panel that reflected on the state of protection in the COVID-19 era. The event drew on findings from a new NRC-Global Protection Cluster report on the current state of play in protection financing, and brought to a close the Global Protection Forum.

This event presented a critical discussion on the place of protection within humanitarian response and the commitments needed across the humanitarian community to address major needs and challenges in 2021 and beyond.

Registration and participation

The event was held virtually, and participants were able to connect via Zoom. Simultaneous interpretation was provided in English and Spanish.


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Ambassador Manuel Bessler Ambassador Manuel Bessler Deputy Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Delegate for Humanitarian Aid and Head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit


Gillian Triggs Gillian Triggs Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Jan Egeland Jan Egeland Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council
Cecilia Jimenez-Damary Cecilia Jimenez-Damary UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
Mayerlín Vergara Pérez Mayerlín Vergara Pérez Caribbean Regional Coordinator for the Renacer Foundation and Nansen Refugee Award Laureate
William Chemaly William Chemaly Global Protection Cluster Coordinator


Chris Gunness Chris Gunness Broadcaster and journalist, formerly a Communications Director at the UN and BBC Correspondent