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United States Announces New Pledges at 2023 Global Refugee Forum
Fact Sheet 
15 MINUTE READ
December 15, 2023

United States Announces New Pledges at 2023 Global Refugee Forum 

Fact Sheet

Office of the Spokesperson

From December 13-15 at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), the largest international gathering on refugees, the United States announced 26 unique commitments toward eight multi-stakeholder pledges demonstrating U.S. leadership in meeting the needs of refugees and host communities in this time of historic displacement.  The United States is spearheading high-level action with diverse global partners, strengthening global refugee resettlement opportunities, and encouraging more comprehensive and innovative responses and solutions to refugee and host community needs.

When consultations toward the Global Compact on Refugees began in 2016, forcibly displaced people around the world numbered 65.6 million.  Each year since then has set a successive record for the highest number of displaced persons ever recorded.  Global forced displacement is increasing at unprecedented rates, with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimating as of December 2023 more than 130 million people are forcibly displaced or stateless worldwide.  For the international community, the need to broaden the base of support for refugees worldwide has never been more urgent.

The United States reaffirms our commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees and underscores our dedication to championing refugee protection and solutions.  New pledges from the United States announced at the 2023 Global Refugee Forum include:

Economic Inclusion and Social Protection

  • Expand the refugee self-reliance initiative matching pledge: The United States pledges to join the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative (RSI), including in Bangladesh, Colombia, and Kenya.  U.S. diplomatic and financial support will help this broad coalition of multilateral, non-governmental, private sector, development actors, government, and civil society organizations in reaching two million households by 2027.
  • Increase private sector engagement to mobilize investment and support economic inclusion in refugee-hosting contexts: The United States pledges to support the International Finance Corporation – UNHCR Joint Initiative to promote private sector solutions in refugee areas.  The United States will promote the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Humanitarian Resilience Investing Call to Action and the WEF’s Uplink Challenge.  The United States will continue its formal partnership with the Tent Partnership for Refugees to expand refugee employment opportunities globally.  The United States will also partner with the Refugee Investment Network (RIN) to map private sector capacity in northern Kenya.  Finally, the United States will continue to deepen its own partnerships with social impact companies and investors, international development financing corporations, and others.
  • Support multilateral development bank (MDB) financing for refugees and host communities: The United States pledges continued support for MDB financing mechanisms for refugees, migrants, and host communities, namely the World Bank International Development Association Window for Host Communities and Refugees, the Global Concessional Financing Facility, and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Migration Initiative.  The United States will deepen its ties with the Africa Development Bank.
  • Support the MIRPS Joint Pledge on Integration of Displaced Persons: As the 2022-2023 Chair of the MIRPS Support Platform, the United States pledges continuing support in alignment with efforts by the MIRPS States to advance the self-reliance of refugees, other forcibly displaced and stateless people, and host communities in Central America and Mexico.  In 2023, the United States led three multilateral learning events with the Governments of El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Colombia to facilitate the sharing of good practices on local integration, including on mental health and psychosocial support, financial and economic inclusion, and on IDP-specific approaches.  In 2024, the United States, through UNHCR, will support targeted projects with each MIRPS State to implement these good practices to foster local integration as a durable solution for refugees and other displaced persons in the region.

Gender Equality and Protection from Gender-based Violence

  • Prioritize gender-based violence prevention, mitigation, and response across humanitarian responses globally, from the outset of all types of crises: Through the Safe from the Start ReVisioned initiative, the United States will prioritize gender-based violence prevention and survivor-centered response programming and drive increased representation and leadership of women and girls in decision-making structures.
  • Strengthen gender-based violence service delivery in food insecure environments: The United States will support the UNHCR-World Food Program Joint Programme of Excellence in Targeting Hub to collect gender-sensitive data on food insecurity and vulnerability analysis.
  • Foster greater inclusion of refugee-hosting states within the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies: The United States will advocate for refugee-hosting countries to join the Call to Action.

Resettlement

  • Commit to increasing global resettlement opportunities: President Biden committed to admitting up to 125,000 refugees to the United States annually.  After working to rebuild the capacity of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), the United States is poised to meet this ambitious goal this fiscal year.
  • Regularly convene the Resettlement Diplomacy Network: The United States is committed to chairing and regularly convening the Resettlement Diplomacy Network (RDN), including at both the senior officials and ministerial level in 2024 and beyond.  The United States is committed to using the RDN as a high-level strategic and diplomatic engagement mechanism to strengthen and expand access to global refugee resettlement, increase complementary migration pathways for those in need of protection, and offer a forum for emergency coordination.
  • Expand equitable access to resettlement: The United States is committed to expanding equitable access to resettlement and continuing to accept diverse profiles of refugees of many nationalities worldwide.  The United States will continue to expand upon existing pathways and open new pathways for resettlement referrals, including for populations who have historically had less access to the USRAP.  These efforts include innovations in private sponsorships through the Welcome Corps, expanded referrals through non-governmental organization networks, and establishing new referral authorities for U.S. Government officials with a focus on human rights defenders and LGBTQI+ populations.

Community Sponsorship

  • Commit to expanding private sponsorship: Following the 2021 U.S. pledge from the high-level officials meeting to establish a private sponsorship program, the United States launched the Welcome Corps in January 2023.  In support of the multistakeholder pledge on community sponsorship, the United States commits to continue to scale the Welcome Corps by engaging civil society organizations and local communities and strengthening partnerships to welcome 10,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2024 through the Welcome Corps.
  • Input to infrastructure for the Global Sponsorship Fund: The United States pledges to support the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI) community of practice to finalize the governance and infrastructure of the GSRI’s Global Sponsorship Fund.
  • Expand community sponsorship: As part of the multistakeholder pledge on community sponsorship, the United States pledges to support expansion of U.S. community engagement in resettlement, particularly through co-sponsorship.  Toward this pledge, the United States intends to continue to fund the Refugee Welcome Collective, a consortium that provides technical assistance and capacity building resources to expand the number of community members and newly arrived refugees who participate in community sponsorship programs in the United States.

Skills-based Complementary Pathways

  • Launch Welcome Corps at Work: To increase economic inclusion and access to livelihoods, the United States will launch a specialized labor mobility program for refugees as part of the Welcome Corps, the private sponsorship program through the USRAP, in 2024.  By 2027, the United States pledges to admit at least 300 refugees, including primary applicants and their family members, through the Welcome Corps at Work.
  • Expand Welcome Corps on Campus:  To expand access to higher education for refugees, the United States is implementing a specialized higher education program as part of the Welcome Corps, the private sponsorship program through the USRAP.  By 2027, the United States pledges to partner with 75 higher education institutes to admit at least 275 students through the Welcome Corps on Campus.

Rohingya

  • Increase Rohingya resettlement to the United States: The United States recognizes the Rohingya situation as a priority and pledges to continue to expand the number of Rohingya, including from Bangladesh, resettled through the USRAP in Fiscal Year 2024.
  • Encourage third countries to expand Rohingya resettlement: The United States pledges to continue through calendar year 2024 to use its experience with resettling Rohingya refugees and its positions as chair of the Resettlement Diplomacy Network and a co-chair of the Priority Situations Core Group (PSCG) to encourage other countries to expand or create new third-country solutions for Rohingya refugees.
  • Encourage Rohingya access to the U.S. Welcome Corps at Work labor mobility program for refugees: The United States pledges through its Welcome Corps at Work, the new labor mobility program for refugees within Welcome Corps, to focus on Rohingya refugees gaining access to employment in the United States.
  • Expand skills of Rohingya refugees and host communities: The United States pledges to support efforts to expand programs that offer numeracy, literacy, and vocational training as well as formal skills certification to Rohingya refugees and host communities.  This includes engaging with private sector actors who could contribute financial, in-kind, or technical support to these programs.
  • Support international financial institutions’ engagement with Rohingya refugees and host communities: The United States will work with the donor community and host governments to support the efforts of international financial institutions to develop effective means of supporting Rohingya refugees and surrounding host communities.
  • Strengthen humanitarian and development coherence in Rohingya refugee programs: The United States will strengthen the internal coherence of its humanitarian and development assistance for Rohingya refugees and hosting countries, including through the development of a program to build the capacity of partners to address the unique health and protection needs of Rohingya refugees.

Ending Statelessness

  • Join the Global Alliance to End Statelessness: The United States pledges to become a member of the Global Alliance to End Statelessness.
  • Expand advocacy around inclusion of stateless persons in statistics: The United States pledges to expand global engagement and advocacy for the improvement of statelessness data and the inclusion of stateless persons in statistics, including by supporting the International Recommendations in Statelessness Statistics and the World Bank-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement.

Refugee-Inclusive Education

  • Advocate for inclusion of refugees in national education systems: The United States will advocate for, incentivize, and include refugees in development-funded education programs, in locations where host countries have favorable policies for inclusion of refugees in the national system.
  • Incorporate Refugees in U.S. government education strategy: The United States will include refugees in the U.S. Government Strategy on Interagency Basic Education.
  • Support Refugee-inclusive multilateral engagement: The United States will advocate for refugee inclusion in multilateral engagement including the Global Partnership for Education, hosted by the World Bank, and Education Cannot Wait, hosted by UNICEF.

The political commitments by the United States toward the pledges, as well as the pledges themselves, are not legally binding under international or U.S. law.

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