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U.S. Statement for the Global Refugee Forum Debate on Burden and Responsibility Sharing
December 17, 2019

Statement by Ambassador Andrew Bremberg

Thank you, High Commissioner.  It is my honor to open this session on comprehensive responses.  At the start, we must first recognize that true peace and stability requires States to address the political causes of these conflicts causing suffering to so many around the world.  While humanitarian and development aid can save lives and improve the quality of life for millions, it will never SOLVE these complex crises alone.  I call on every State here to use today’s momentum to solve these crises and establish the necessary conditions that will allow people to return to their homes.  In the meantime, we must ensure that each and every humanitarian and development contribution is used effectively and efficiently.

At this first Global Refugee Forum, I am proud to reiterate the United States’ ongoing commitment as a leader in humanitarian assistance.  The U.S. government provided nearly $9.3 billion to support humanitarian response globally in fiscal year 2019, the highest amount ever. And, earlier this month, I was pleased to announce the U.S. government’s initial pledge of $125 million toward UNHCR’s 2020 Global Appeal.

We recognize the contributions of hosting countries providing protection daily to people in need and the many other donor governments who have increased their contributions, like us, in recent years.  We commend these efforts.  However, the needs of people affected by conflict and persecution are still greater than the support offered.  More donors need to do more.

Sharing the burden also means strengthening existing partnerships and forging new ones.  We must continue to expand partnerships among the broader scope of actors: governments, the private sector, development organizations, humanitarian responders, communities hosting refugees and internally displaced persons, and IMPORTANTLY, the people themselves that have been forcibly displaced.  These partner networks are critical to not only help ensure the long term protection for people in need, but also help uprooted communities build resilience and prepare for voluntary, safe, and sustainable return.  I appreciate the opportunities this week to hear from diverse actors, such as Her Royal Highness Sarah Zeid, UNHCR’s patron who is working to break down the silos between humanitarian and development responses to prevent unnecessary maternal and newborn deaths.  In this area, like so many others: we can and we must do better.

We also welcome yesterday’s launch of regional support platforms.  These tailored, contextually driven approaches are necessary because there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to solutions for displaced persons.

Finally, we must remember that our collective work is about supporting the human dignity of those who were forced to flee often indescribable horrors and abuses.  With those people in mind, I return to my first message.  We must achieve political solutions.  We must fund humanitarian responses.  We must continue to innovate.  We must continue to expand our partnerships and break silos.  Everyone needs to do more.  And above all, we must turn these statements into real action.

Thank you very much.