On Monday, September 19th, 2016 world leaders came together at the UN General Assembly to adopt the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants expressing their commitment to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and to share responsibility for large movements on a global scale. The Declaration was adopted in the context of the UN Summit “Addressing Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees” organized in order to respond to the unprecedented level of human mobility witnessed today, which regards both migrants and refugees: as of 2015, the migrant population accounted for more than 244 million, while forcibly displaced persons reached the peak of 65 million, including over 21 million refugees, 3 million asylum seekers and over 40 million internally displaced persons around the world.
The New York Declaration contains commitments for both addressing the actual flow of refugees and migrants and preparing for future challenges. These commitments aim at protecting human rights of migrants and refugees, ensuring their education, housing and safety, supporting countries that are rescuing, receiving and hosting a large number of refugees and migrants, improving humanitarian and development assistance to the countries most affected by the influx of refugees and migrants, and strengthening their contribution for economic and social development in host countries.
In this respect, the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim mentioned during his speech the efforts the World Bank is doing, working together with UNHCR, for the access to better data for analyzing the situation of migrants, refugees, and internationally displaced persons. In this respect, he underlined as “development interventions focused early after a crisis could have great impact on large numbers of refugees”. Furthermore, he remarked the importance of the implementation of development programs even in countries characterized by active conflicts like Yemen, where the World Bank is working together with UNDP and UNICEF for assisting the population’s needs preventing their forced displacement. Finally, he observed the importance of delivering development aids also to host communities and levering on the private sector for creating jobs, as the World Bank is doing in Jordan and Lebanon, two of the countries hosting the highest number of Syrian refugees.
Accordingly, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi remarked that the New York Declaration marks a “political commitment of unprecedented strong and resonance” and agreed on Yong Kim’s reference to the importance of a strong engagement by development partners and international financial institutions.