Following Monday’s high-level U.N. summit on the refugee crisis, President Barack Obama will host Tuesday the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees. The meeting is being co-hosted by Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico and Sweden, as well as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The Leaders’ Summit on Refugees hopes to advance commitments made by world leaders during the U.N. General Assembly meeting Monday where 193 countries adopted the New York Declaration, aimed at improving the lives of the 65.3 million people forcibly displaced due to political crises and wars. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said the declaration “marks a political commitment of unprecedented force and resonance.”
Anne C. Richard, assistant secretary at the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, said Friday that Tuesday’s summit will focus on three key areas — increasing aid to U.N. and other humanitarian agencies by at least 30 percent; doubling resettlement; and improving access to education for nearly one million youths and improving employment opportunities for those displaced.
“They [member countries] will do things to make refugees more able to rely on themselves in the countries to which they’ve fled, and that means increasing the number of children, refugee children going to school and the number of adults who can work legally in their countries,” Richard said.
In addition to working with world leaders, Obama will also work with U.S. businesses in improving the lives of refugees. These companies include Fortune 500 companies like Johnson & Johnson, recently established technology ones like Airbnb and small businesses like Newton Supply Company. Ahead of the summit, Obama and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will speak to the businesses to discuss the refugee crisis.
The president also revealed earlier this month his plan of admitting 110,000 refugees from all over the world, including a significant number from Syria, during the next fiscal year. A senior Obama administration official told Politico the decision to increase the figure from 100,000 to 110,000 “is consistent with our belief that all countries should do more to help the world's most vulnerable people.”
“You hear all around the world the U.N. hasn't handled the refugee crisis. The way the U.N. will handle the refugee crisis is if all of us countries within the U.N. step up and dig deep and face those political headwinds that we all face, to do more, to give more, to take on a greater share of the resettlement challenge,” U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said.
An Oxfam report published in July said the six wealthiest countries in the world, which account for at least 60 percent of the global economy, host less than 9 percent of the world’s refugees, leaving poorer countries to deal with most of the responsibility.
According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, among the 65.3 million forcibly displaced are nearly 21.3 million refugees, of which over half are below the age of 18. The UNHCR says nearly 34,000 people are being displaced every day.