Foreign and Commonwealth Office – 2019 Press Release on the UK Statement at the Global Refugee Forum

Below is a press release issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 18/12/2019.

The UK’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Julian Braithwaite, delivers a statement to the first-ever Global Refugee Forum.

Thank you, High Commissioner.

As displacement numbers continue to grow, it is more important than ever to pay tribute to the huge generosity of host nations and communities welcoming those forced to flee.

We are clear this is a shared challenge and responsibility for the international community. UK commitment is steadfast.

More than £2.8 billion in funding for the Syria conflict marks our largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis. In just the last few months, we have committed an additional £30 million to vulnerable Venezuelans (£44.5m in total for 2019) and £117 million of life-saving aid for the Rohingya refugee crisis.

We are also one of the few countries to spend 0.7% of our Gross National Income on development, at least half in fragile states and regions – the drivers of today’s refugee crises.

Additional and predictable funding is critical, but we must also be smarter with how we use what we have. The UK strongly backs the Common Position on Financing for Refugee Situations endorsed by INCAF, to more efficiently and effectively address forced displacement. We look forward to working together to implement its principles.

The UK will continue to play its part in delivering on the transformational promise of the Global Compact on Refugees. For example:

On jobs and livelihoods for example – we’ve helped deliver more than 120,000 work permits for Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Our latest funding to the Rohingya crisis response is ensuring protection for more than 450,000 refugees in Bangladesh.

And on education our support includes £85 million in new funding to the Education Cannot Wait initiative.

As co-Chair of this year’s Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, we fully support UNHCR’s 3-Year Strategy on solutions. The UK’s resettlement schemes have provided safe and legal routes for tens of thousands of people.

This year, the UK reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to resettlement, announcing a new global scheme to start in 2020, resettling around 5,000 vulnerable refugees in its first year.

Our Community Sponsorship scheme continues to grow. From next year, refugees resettled this way will be counted in addition to our main resettlement offer. And we continue to work with the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative to encourage and support states to develop community sponsorship schemes of their own.

The UK Government has also committed in our new Integrated Communities Action Plan to work with civil society and others to increase integration support for all refugees in the UK. That includes support with English language, employment and entrepreneurship, mental health and wellbeing.

We endorse the regional Support Platforms launched this week. In line the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), UK aid in Pakistan is helping to deliver quality textbooks and teachers to host and refugee children alike, while our new funding in Afghanistan will support more than a quarter of a million Afghan returnees.

Our engagement in Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries is well established. In Ethiopia, we’re backing market creation and economic opportunities in refugee-hosting areas, helping to create tens of thousands of jobs for both refugees and Ethiopians. In Kenya, we’re providing skills-based training in business and agriculture and helped to solarise the largest hospital in Kakuma. And in Uganda, alongside scaling up cash support we played a key part in developing the country’s first ever education response plan for both refugees and host communities.

Finally, we must remember today’s Forum is an important stepping stone but not an end in itself. This is about where we go next – a chance to identify priorities and opportunities, to ensure a common understanding and direction of travel. The UK looks forward to continuing that journey alongside you.

Thank you.