On November 18, 2020, the Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants in partnership with UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency and Multi Kulti  Collective held a National Forum  Protection and integration of refugees in the context of COVID-19.  Representatives of international organizations, government bodies and public institutions, municipal officials, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations participated in the event. The event provided a forum to share lessons learned, commitments, and perspectives in response to the challenges for refugee protection and integration in the context of the Covid-19, as well as to discuss policies, practices, and insights. The Agenda of the Forum included topics, related to the international and national dimensions of the pandemic. Dr. Mihail Okoliiski from the office of the World Health Organization in Bulgaria, Dr. Angel Kunchev – Chief State Health Inspector, and Suzanne Klink from the UNHCR Bureau of Europe were the main speakers on the topic.  Mariana Stoyanova,  Head of the Refugee and Migrant Service of the Bulgarian Red Cross, and  Ivan Cheresharov,  Head of the Migration and Integration Department of Caritas Sofia, presented the Bulgarian response and the experience of the non-governmental organizations for protection and integration of refugees in the context of Covid 19. Stanislav Georgiev from the Sofia Regional Educational Authority presented the challenges for the education system, and the measures taken to respond and to address the gaps.  Anelia Dimitrova from Katro Bulgaria has shared the involvement of the private sector.  Dr. Sager Al-Anezi from the UNHCR Refugee Advisory Board has focused his intervention on the role of the refugee lead and refugee organizations for identifying and addressing the obstacles and the challenges for refugee integration during the pandemic. Dr. Vania Ivanova from the Bulgarian Academy of Science spoke about the role of academia in the development of a supportive environment for refugee protection and integration. The Bulgarian Council for Refugees and Migrants presented and disseminated a Collection of Materials Protection and Integration of Refugees in the Context of COVID-19, prepared and published for the Forum.

The National Forum was organized under the Advocacy for Refugee Integration in Bulgaria Project, funded by the UNHCR, and under the NIEM – National Integration Evaluation Mechanism Project,  financed under the AMIF of the European Commission.