Thank you, Madam Chair.
High Commissioner, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to express my government’s strong support for the 2017 Global Appeal update of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and am honored to pledge an initial $125 million in humanitarian assistance towards this appeal. This matches our initial pledge for 2016.
The United States recognizes the vital importance of providing early and unearmarked contributions to allow UNHCR the flexibility to ensure that critical protection and assistance activities are not interrupted, and I saw this firsthand when I visited three of UNHCR’s refugee camps in Western Tanzania earlier this year. We encourage other donors to join us in providing UNHCR with strong and flexible financial support.
This past year, we saw UNHCR’s budget surpass $7 billion, reflecting the surge in displacement this year compounded by continuing humanitarian needs from protracted crises across the globe. These multiple large-scale crises have required tremendous responses by UNHCR, its partners, and Member States to ensure that vulnerable people receive the protection and assistance they need.
We commend and appreciate the significant contributions of the many States hosting refugees and applaud their commitment to help the millions of vulnerable people around the world. Unfortunately, many of the causes behind the world’s humanitarian crises show no sign of letting up. Now more than ever, we need to share responsibility. In this context, we re-state our commitment to work in partnership with other countries, local communities, UNHCR and other international organizations, and NGOs to provide assistance and to seek solutions.
We welcome the adoption of the New York Declaration, which shows the unanimous commitment made by states towards refugees and migrants. This UN General Assembly meeting was followed by a remarkable Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, where 49 countries and several international organizations pledged to increase humanitarian aid, provide more opportunities for refugee resettlement and other legal pathways for admissions, and increase the number of refugee children who will be able to go to school and the number of refugees who can legally work. Fulfilling these commitments is critical to supporting refugees’ self-sufficiency and dignity. The current state of humanitarian situations demands new resolve if we are to meet the commitments we all made this year.