Earlier this week, I met with UN representatives of Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico, and Sweden, as well as a senior representative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The leaders of these countries will join President Obama and the UN Secretary-General in co-hosting the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees on September 20 on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
The summit will convene heads of state and government who have made new and significant commitments this year to address the needs of the world’s refugees. The collective goals for the summit are to: (1) increase funding to international humanitarian organizations and UN humanitarian appeals; (2) increase opportunities for resettlement and other forms of legal admission for refugees; and (3) expand access to employment and education for refugees in major refugee-hosting states.
During this week’s co-host planning meeting, we discussed our governments’ shared commitment to meeting these goals, noting that more people are currently displaced than at any point since World War II. We agreed on the importance of urging all countries – including those that are not traditional donors or that have not previously accepted refugees – to consider making new and significant contributions to respond to this historic refugee crisis. We affirmed the importance of facilitating refugee access to education and employment in host countries to enable greater self-reliance, and discussed the need to support host communities. Finally, we discussed our continued support for other refugee-related initiatives, including the UN General Assembly September 19 high-level plenary session on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants.