Filippo Grandi told the BBC that more nations had to help the “few countries” shouldering the burden, by increasing both funding and resettlement.
He said that, last year, fewer than 1% of 20 million refugees had been resettled in another nation.
More are fleeing conflict and hardship than at any other time in history.
Mr Grandi was speaking to the BBC during a day of special live coverage examining how an age of unprecedented mobility is shaping our world.
Later, the UN refugee agency’s special envoy, Angelina Jolie-Pitt, will deliver a keynote speech, in which she will warn about the “fear of uncontrolled migration” and how it has “given space, and a false air of legitimacy, to those who promote a politics of fear and separation”. READ MORE OF THIS STORY