Press releases

UNHCR and ITC partner to support economic empowerment for refugees

21 January 2015
ITC News

(Geneva) – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have agreed to step up joint efforts to ensure better economic and employment opportunities for the millions of refugees across the world.

The collaboration will seek to improve the livelihoods of refugees by enhancing their skill set and connecting them to opportunities linked to international trade. The Agreement was signed by High Commissioner António Guterres and ITC Executive Director Arancha González at UNHCR headquarters on Wednesday 21 January 2015.

‘Building the economic potential and creating job opportunities for refugee communities is about investing in peace, security and dignity,’ said Ms. González. ‘By linking refugees to markets we assist these communities in retaining and using their traditional skills in a way that provides economic opportunities, and builds a market for their goods and services.’

‘Empowering refugees through work and economic opportunities is key to helping people return to normal and productive lives,’ said High Commissioner Guterres. ‘This is an important step toward that goal.’

Co-operation between UNHCR and ITC will place special focus on interventions that aim to integrate refugees into the value chains of private-sector companies that are targeting export markets, especially sectors linked to information technology and agribusiness and handicrafts. Particular attention will be paid to women and youth.

Note to Editor: ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid for Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals


For further information, please contact:



Jarle Hetland , Media Officer
Office of the Executive Director
Tel: +41-22-730-0145
Mobile: +41-759 829 180
Email: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org)



Francis Markus
Senior Communications Officer
Tel: +41 22 739 8396

Mobile: +41 73 901 1966
Email: markus [at]