The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today, President Obama joined UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as well as leaders from Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico, and Sweden in hosting the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, culminating a sustained effort to rally nations to step up their efforts in response to the largest mass displacement crisis since the Second World War. The Summit built on a meeting earlier in the day to mobilize private sector resources to address this same crisis Based on commitments received prior to the Summit, the results are as follows:
Fifty-two countries and international organizations participated in the Summit, announcing commitments that cumulatively increased their total 2016 financial contributions to UN appeals and international humanitarian organizations by approximately $4.5 billion over 2015 levels; roughly doubled the number of refugees they resettled or afforded other legal channels of admission in 2016; created improved access to education for one million refugee children globally; and, improved access to lawful work for one million refugees globally.
Over the course of 2016, 11 of the countries participating in the Summit have at least doubled their financial contributions for humanitarian assistance as compared to last year, with four countries committing to at least ten times more this year than in 2015. Notably, several new countries have pledged to maintain substantially higher rates of humanitarian financing for multiple years. Additionally, at least 18 countries across four continents committed to starting or significantly expanding UNHCR-facilitated third-country resettlement programs, or announced plans to significantly increase their admission of refugees based on family reunification, scholarships, or humanitarian visas. Seven countries committed to resettle and/or admit at least ten times more refugees than they did in 2015.
To achieve the Summit’s goal of improving refugees’ access to education, 17 major refugee-hosting countries pledged to help increase refugees’ school enrollment, including by constructing new classrooms, training and hiring new teachers, and certifying and streamlining refugee education programs that previously offered only informal education or education using foreign curricula. Fifteen countries also committed to take concrete action to improve refugees’ ability to work lawfully by adopting policies that permit refugees to start their own businesses, expanding or enacting policies that allow refugees to live outside camps, making agricultural land available, and issuing the documents necessary to work lawfully.
The Summit also showcased two new platforms that will improve the international community’s ability to share more equitably the responsibility for protecting refugees. The World Bank announced the Global Crisis Response Platform, which will provide low- and middle-income countries hosting large refugee populations with access to financing on favorable terms for projects to benefit both refugees and their host communities. The United States intends to contribute at least $50 million over the next five years to the Platform’s middle income facility, subject to the availability of appropriations, above and beyond the $25 million contribution we announced earlier. This will leverage three to four times as much in low cost financing. We also look forward to supporting the facility for low income countries later this year as part of our broader replenishment of the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. Additionally, the United States helped to establish the Emergency Resettlement Country Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM) – a joint project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – which will provide both financial and technical assistance to countries that are interested in establishing or expanding refugee resettlement programs.
The Summit built on efforts by the international community throughout 2016 to mobilize resources and strengthen the systems required to meet the growing need of refugees, including: the London Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region, the UNHCR resettlement conference in Geneva, the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, and the UN Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.
U.S. Contributions to the Refugee Crisis
Protecting and assisting refugees is a foreign policy priority and a proud tradition for the United States. Since 1975 the United States has resettled more than 3.2 million refugees representing more than 70 nationalities. We increased the number of refugees resettled annually in the United States from 70,000 in 2015 to 85,000 this year, and, as recently announced, have established an admissions target of 110,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2017. The United States has also increased alternative pathways of admission, providing special immigrant visas to more than 11,000 people at risk from Iraq and Afghanistan in FY16, an increase of more than 4,000 from FY 2015. Last year the United States provided more than $6 billion in humanitarian assistance worldwide. We anticipate providing more than $7 billion in humanitarian assistance to international organizations and non-governmental organizations by the end of the current fiscal year. In direct support of the Summit’s goals, the United States recently made a contribution of nearly $37 million for UNHCR’s work with countries hosting refugees to increase the number of refugee children receiving a quality education. The United States is also proud to have provided $20 million in support for the Education Cannot Wait Platform, the world’s first fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, championing access to education in the most complex and dangerous environments.
The United States is also committed to making financial contributions to each of the groundbreaking financial platforms launched in connection with the Summit. We are pleased to have provided $11 million to the ERCM and intend to contribute at least $50 million over the next five years, subject to the availability of appropriations, to the Global Concessional Financing Facility – the middle-income portion of the World Bank’s Global Crisis Response Platform.