UNHCR and TikTok launch campaign in solidarity with refugees from Ukraine and beyond

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and TikTok have joined hands to launch a music campaign promoting solidarity with refugees globally. The campaign began with #TheWorldNeeds, a UNHCR-initiated global hashtag challenge, to be followed by a series of TikTok LIVE concerts from May 4 to May 7. #TheWorldNeeds calls on creators, artists, and communities to spread a message of global support for refugees calling for safe and legal access to asylum for all.

With the support of Warner Recorded Music, Warner Chappell Music and BMG, Dionne Warwick’s iconic track “What The World Needs Now (Is Love)” is the centrepiece of the #TheWorldNeeds global hashtag challenge. UNHCR invites the TikTok community to join the challenge and bring their creativity to life to show their support and solidarity for those forced to flee.

Building on a historic connection, Dionne Warwick was originally part of UNHCR’s World Stars Festival in 1968, donating a track to raise funds for UNHCR. Warwick said, “When I supported the World Stars Festival over 50 years ago for UNHCR, there were fewer than 4 million refugees. Now, there are well over 85 million displaced globally. There has never been a more important time to stand in solidarity and show support for people around the world who have been forced to flee from their homes.”

Over half a century later, #TheWorldNeeds challenge and live concerts are a virtual equivalent of World Stars for the 21st century, harnessing the power of artists and creators around the world.

Mary Maker, a refugee and UNHCR high profile supporter, opens the challenge on TikTok with her own rendition of the song, and welcomes other creators and artists to join her in expressing support and solidarity for displaced people worldwide.

She said: “I’m so excited to be part of such an amazing challenge! It gives me great hope to see the TikTok community come together in solidarity for refugees around the world. I fled conflict in South Sudan as a child and through all of the challenges I have faced since, music has always been a companion and comfort. Music truly has the power to bring people together and break down boundaries, and I hope that through all of the creators’ contributions, we are able to achieve just that!”

Starting today, a dedicated information page will be available on TikTok in selected markets where users can learn and discover ways they can support and donate to UNHCR and show their solidarity with refugees in Ukraine and beyond. Donations will help fund UNHCR’s critical programmes, from emergency response to sustaining support for refugees, in the form of shelter, healthcare and nutrition, income generation, education, legal assistance and protection.

UNHCR’s Director of External Relations Dominique Hyde: “Across the globe, more people have been forced to flee their homes than ever before. From Ukraine to Afghanistan, Syria to Mali, Venezuela and South Sudan, the needs of refugees are growing day by day, and so too is the need for public support and solidarity. UNHCR needs more partners like TikTok to bring awareness to those who need it most. #TheWorldNeeds initiative offers a creative way to engage and unite communities to build solidarity for all the people displaced by conflict around the world, whoever they are and wherever they may be.”

#TheWorldNeeds will be followed by a series of TikTok LIVE concerts, from 4th to 7th May, featuring renowned stars and artists. The full list, and the concert schedule, will be available and updated on the project’s landing page.

Join the #TheWorldNeeds challenge now with UNHCR and TikTok to show your support and tune in to this musical moment of unity and solidarity for refugees around the world.

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