$7.7B in financial support for refugees pledged at Global Refugee Forum, UN says
by Daily Sabah with AA
ISTANBULDec 19, 2019 - 12:51 pm GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Dec 19, 2019 12:51 pm
The first-ever Global Refugee Forum ended Wednesday in Geneva with the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) saying initial indications showed over $7.7 billion in funds had been pledged to help improve the lives of refugees. Speaking to journalists after the close of the forum, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi thanked Turkey for having co-convened. "I want to praise Turkey. Turkey hosts more than 4 million refugees. It is not easy," he said, adding that this number included 3.6 million Syrian refugees.
"Yesterday, President Erdoğan illustrated the very important work that is done to include refugees in education, in public services and giving them access to employment,” he said. According to U.N. data, the overall number of migrants in Turkey, which has received the bulk of refugee flow since the early 2010s, makes up 7% of the country’s total population. Since the putting in place of an open-door policy, which has continued since the start of the civil war in neighboring Syria, Turkey has spent almost $40 billion accommodating the refugee community, while having only received around 6 billion euros ($6.69 billion) in terms of support from the international community. "Public support for asylum has wavered in recent years and in many cases, communities that host refugees have felt overwhelmed or been forgotten," Grandi added.
Noting the important role the private sector has played in supporting government efforts, Grandi said the forum had since witnessed a decisive shift toward the longer-term view. According to the UNHCR, over $4.7 billion has been pledged by the World Bank Group through a dedicated funding window for refugees and host communities, as well as a separate funding window to boost the private sector and create jobs in refugee and host communities. It added that a similar announcement for $1 billion had come from the Inter-American Development Bank. Additionally, "a broad range of states" and other stakeholders pledged financial support for refugees and their host communities of over $2 billion. "This forum has all the makings of success, the type of pledges made, the quality made. To make it a success is the responsibility of all us,” Grandi also said.
The pledges "aim to substantially strengthen support for inclusion and long-term developmental needs in host communities – a recognition that for the majority of the 25.9 million refugees worldwide, exile lasts years or even decades," said the UNHCR. The private sector made the broadest range of commitments for the forcibly displaced, it said, adding providing employment opportunities for refugees had seen "strong support" that was "crucial for allowing refugees to regain dignity and give back to the communities they live in." In addition to humanitarian and development pledges, more than $250 million was pledged by business groups. At least 15,000 jobs are set to be made available to refugees through these initiatives, as will some 125,000 hours per year of pro bono legal counseling. Grandi added that the forum, with 3,000 registered participants, was the biggest event the UNHCR had organized in its history, while U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on day two of the forum, commented that: "Global forced displacement has been rising steadily in recent years." The Global Refugee Forum was organized by the UNHCR in Geneva and Switzerland with the aim of generating new approaches and commitments from a variety of actors to assist and respond to refugee needs more effectively. Being conducted for the first time with the participation of representatives from the states, U.N. Agencies, nongovernmental organizations and many other international actors, the forum, in its words, “comes at the end of a tumultuous decade” marked by various refugee crises. EU to provide fund for refugee-hosting members Meanwhile, the EU Commission announced Wednesday it would provide financial support to member states who had made a collective pledge of more than 30,000 refugee resettlement opportunities. EU member countries made the pledge during the two-day Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, which was co‐hosted by the U.N. and Switzerland and co-convened by Turkey, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Germany and Pakistan. In a statement, the EU Commission said the bloc's resettlement program would prioritize resettlement sites from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and countries along the Central Mediterranean refugee route. The EU will allocate 10,000 euros from its budget for each refugee that member states resettle. In 2015, the EU Commission announced it would settle 160,000 refugees in member states via a quota system to ease the burden on Italy and Greece. However, Czechia, Hungary and Poland rejected the scheme, with the number of resettled refugees remaining at 65,000. Also, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday that the EU had disbursed only 2 billion euros in aid to refugees in Turkey, despite its pledge of 6 billion euros. Turkey stands as the world’s top refugee-hosting country as it provides shelter to over 4 million people, over 3.6 million of whom are Syrians displaced following the eruption of the bloody civil war in 2011.