A/S Richard meets with Civil Society Groups on Humanitarian Priorities

Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

Breakfast with NGO Partners

A/S Richard’s Remarks

Welcome to what I hope will be a free-flowing and meaningful discussion.

I just completed my first year as Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and I’d like to highlight areas where I think we’ve had some real accomplishments, and also talk about what we’re going to keep focusing on in the future.

I’ll focus on three areas: Emergency Response, Humanitarian Diplomacy, and Women and Girls.

Emergency Response:  In the face of an increasing number of crises of great magnitude, we need to continue to be able to respond quickly and effectively.  Obviously, Syria is the single greatest crisis facing the international humanitarian community today.  Feeding, clothing, and keeping healthy 1.3 million refugees, many of which are women and children, is an ongoing challenge.

 In Mali, conflict in the north has resulted in more than a quarter of a million internally displaced persons and nearly 180,000 refugees in neighboring countries.

Conflict in the Sudans has resulted inmore than 660,000 Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees; 40 percent of whom have been displaced in the past year and a half.

There are more than a million Somali refugees in the Horn of Africa, and millions more remain at risk inside Somalia.

Humanitarian Diplomacy:  The PRM bureau is most effective when our mandate and priorities become mainstream issues for the rest of the State Department.

Women and Girls:  Our ability to protect and provide services to women and girls among the populations we serve is a definitive measure of our effectiveness generally.  PRM’s policy is to mainstream gender-based violence prevention and response into every humanitarian operation, complemented by targeted programming — over $73 million since 2000 — to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.  PRM is committed to strengthening practices and policies that will prevent and respond to gender-based violence at the onset of crises and in protracted situations, and will continue to collaborate with our international and non-governmental organization partners in that effort.

PRM recognizes that NGO partners are often engaged in the most innovative work on gender and gender based violence, and works particularly closely with these partners to develop our thinking and approach to gender-based violence prevention and response.

On the resettlement front, I also will seek to safeguard the impressive gains the bureau has made in the last couple of years, including restoring the pipeline of refugees admitted to the U.S., building a healthier reception and placement environment, instituting overseas inoculations, and resuming the priority three (P-3) family reunification program.

This priorities list is not exclusive and does not address the bulk of our work.  However, these are the crucial issues for which I will hold myself and my staff particularly accountable.

I look to you all for your support in these efforts.  Our partners play a pivotal role to ensure that vulnerable victims of conflict receive protection and assistance and for that, I thank you for the important work that you do.  In the face of unprecedented need, we know that the demands are great and difficult decisions need to be made.

I would like to take this opportunity now to hear from you all – and to eat some breakfast!