You are viewing:


Information released online from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017.
Note: Content in this archive site is not updated, and links may not function. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Readout of the Leaders' Summit on Refugees and U.S. Resettlement Efforts

Catherine Wiesner
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

New York, NY
September 23, 2016


MODERATOR: We’re going to get started. Good afternoon. Thank you, everyone, for coming today.

QUESTION: The smaller, the better.

MODERATOR: Exactly. (Laughter.) I’m very pleased to welcome Catherine Wiesner to the New York Foreign Press Center. She is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration. Just a few things, if you could just silence your cell phones; and if you have a question after she concludes her remarks, please state your name and your media affiliation.

Today’s briefing is on the record, and with that, let me turn it over to Deputy Assistant Secretary Wiesner.


QUESTION: Are you planning to transcribe this?

MODERATOR: Yes, we will.


QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

MS WIESNER: Great. So I think what you’re receiving now are the joint statements that came out of the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees and the fact sheet on the various commitments that were made, and that’s what I’m here to talk to you today about the – for us in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the State Department.

But of course, for the Obama Administration as a whole, the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees was a main highlight for us of the UN General Assembly high-level week. We saw it and see it as an excellent complement to the UN summit on large movements of refugees and migrants that was held the day before, and see the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees as giving an opportunity for governments to immediately, after adopting the New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees, to make concrete commitments that show that – their tangible support for the principles and, really, the aspirations that are in that New York declaration. We were also extensively involved in the intergovernmental negotiations and the run-up to the UN summit on the 19th. We participated in many of the events on the 19th. Secretary Kerry delivered our remarks, which you can find on the record. So we take great interest in that and in the coming work to be done on developing the two compacts which that declaration calls for to be adopted in 2018 on safe and orderly migration and on global responsibility sharing for refugees.

In addition to these two summits, of course, U.S. Government officials from my bureau and many others participated in a multitude of events this week at the UN that focused on the global refugee and migration crisis and were organized around some of the subthemes of the two summits, so whether it was about getting more refugee kids in school, telling refugee stories better, amplifying the personal stories of refugees, creating jobs for refugees, the role of civil society, the role of the private sector. And then a number of meetings that have been held on individual humanitarian crises that have significant refugee dimensions – obviously, Syria, also Iraq, South Sudan. I just came from a meeting on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin as well as Yemen and events on ensuring the protection of women and girls in all of our humanitarian activities.

So with all of these events on all of those themes, what are the outcomes? I think to start with answering that question, I will return to the – really, the central purpose and the motivation for President Obama to call the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, and that was really to – from a starting place of all of the focus on Syria and the movements of people from the Middle East to Europe, which has gotten a lot of attention and deserves a lot of attention and will continue to do so, but also to make it very clear that we understand that this crisis is global, that this global crisis is made up of a number of individual crises of displacement and conflict that deserve similar attention.

And that in responding, then, to this crisis, we really need to rally the world community to greater global responsibility sharing; that we can all do more for all of the amazing things that nations have done in the last year to respond to this crisis; that we can all do more on several dimensions, specifically that we can follow our best intentions and inclinations and welcome refugees into our own communities; that the responsibility of doing so shouldn’t fall on a few nations, but it’s for all of us to step up and take part in; and that we need approaches.

One of the major themes of the week, of course, has been – and the year – that the length of time in which refugees spend in exile or displaced people spend away from their homes has just continued to grow. And it’s too long for kids to be out of school and it’s too long for families and adults to be without the dignity of being able to provide for themselves. And so that means that we have to promote the self-reliance of refugees and look at the types of investments that make that possible and the policies that make that possible.

You are probably familiar with – and if you’re not, you have the fact sheet – the targets that we set in announcing the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees and the commitments that we sought in support of those goals, the first being more humanitarian financing. And as President Obama announced, all of the countries who participated in the summit – and I’ll reiterate that any country who participated in the summit was there because they had decided to make new and significant commitments over the course of this year, actually, towards the goals of the summit. And that was the criteria for receiving an invitation.

So those countries gathered, which included 32 donors, have contributed or have pledged to contribute this year $4.5 billion more than they did last year. A billion of that increase came from the United States; secondly, to increase the number of resettlement spaces available to people to leave countries of first asylum and settle and start a new life elsewhere, that countries came together and doubled the number of spaces that were available from last year to this year with approximately 360,000 spaces available to refugees in the coming years; and then finally, focusing on these opportunities for refugee kids to go to school and refugee adults to work with commitments towards a million more kids going to school and 1 million more adults with the legal right to pursue either formal work or a livelihood in their country of asylum.

We’ve been pursuing these commitments from various countries ever since the summit was announced late last year, so this has been a vigorous diplomacy effort over the last nine months. So the summit was both a culmination of that, with countries coming and announcing their commitments, and also the start, particularly for countries who are perhaps starting new resettlement programs or looking at changing and adapting their policies to integrate refugees more comprehensively in their societies.

So in pursuing these commitments over the course of the year, we took advantage of a number of events. So the commitments that countries made and that you see cataloged in the fact sheet did start with the London conference for Syria and commitments that Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey made to getting kids in school and creating more opportunities for refugees to work. UNHCR held a resettlement conference for Syrians in April. Countries made commitments there to increase resettlement. So building on that and bringing in other countries, we ended up with nine additional African refugee-hosting countries, major refugee hosts in – on that continent, three from Asia, as well as Ecuador and Greece who all made commitments along these objectives of more school and work.

To give you just an example of the types of commitments that were made, the goal is to get more refugee kids in school, but then the question is how to do that. And part of the answer to that question is certainly resources, and that’s where donor countries and refugee-hosting countries need to come together. But there are policy aspects to that as well, and that’s where we really applaud those countries that came forward and said that they would look at allowing refugees to live outside of camps, to access national government school systems instead of parallel school systems, to accredit refugee education, to hire more teachers, all of the things that governments themselves could do, and then many of them at the summit from Chad, Cameroon, elsewhere then challenged the donor community to support that with resources.

In terms of work, the commitments range from offering formal work permits to making agricultural land available for refugees to pursue livelihoods, and in some instances, in a number of cases there were sort of additional commitments made that improved the legal status of refugees overall throughout the country. So whether it was birth registration, better identification cards that come with recognition of your status, and in a number of countries actually offering refugees permanent residence or naturalization, and so millions of refugees actually will benefit from those changes.

Getting back to this question of sharing responsibility between those who have resources and those who don’t, I should also note that the President hosted 50 business leaders in a meeting just before the summit who all made commitments along the same lines to support refugees – $650 million worth of commitments, but benefiting specifically 80,000 kids to be in school, and I think perhaps, most importantly, commitments to create 220,000 new jobs for refugees.

So it’s one thing to say that refugees have the right to pursue legal work. It’s another thing to actually have a job available to them. And of course, in creating jobs for refugees, we need to create jobs for host communities. What we’re really talking about is an investment in communities and countries that create more jobs overall and letting refugees contribute and be a part of those – that economic growth.

There are also a number of new platforms along this line that I want to note. The Education Cannot Wait Platform was launched at the World Humanitarian Summit. The U.S. Government was one of the first donors to that platform with a $20 million contribution. And this recognizes that even as we raise more money for humanitarian assistance broadly, not enough of those resources always go towards education. And so the – this is the first fund ever focused on education and emergencies specifically. And we look forward to a number of the countries who attended the Leaders’ Summit and made commitments on refugees’ access to education to benefit from this fund and funds like it.

Similarly, we worked with the International Organization of Migration and the UN High Commission for Refugees to establish a new fund for emerging resettlement countries. It’s the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism, I believe. And this is – as we went around and did this diplomacy, we were talking to traditional resettlement countries, like Australia and Canada, who have increased the numbers that they will take in, but also countries that had never really done resettlement or had only done it on a very small scale. And this – the creation of this mechanism is in recognition that there are resource requirements for some of the poorer countries who are deciding to do that but also technical capacity and skills that they could benefit from IOM and UNHCR helping them identify the most vulnerable or the most appropriate refugees for resettlement in their countries and preparing them for travel and then helping with designing integration programs upon arrival.

So that mechanism was established just last month. The U.S. contributed $11 million during the summit. Sweden announced a contribution of $17 million, the UK of 3.25. So we already have more than $31 million now available to these new – these countries that have stepped up newly and said that they will accept refugees for resettlement.

And then finally, in terms of new resources being available, I want to acknowledge the really quite historic announcements that the World Bank made this week about establishing the Global Crisis Response Platform. And there are two financing facilities within that which will help low-income and middle-income refugee-hosting countries to invest in things like school and job creation for host communities that host refugees in a way that will promote the development of those communities and create opportunities for refugees at the same time.

And this is, I think, a really important part of the world community recognizing that there are two sides to this responsibility sharing and that ultimately development finances will be critical to us really achieving the goals of the commitments that were made.

So what’s next? I think two things going back briefly to the UN summit. We really hope that the countries who participated in the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees will take that spirit of responsibility sharing, which was a rather ad hoc motivated by the diplomatic engagement of the U.S. Government and the other countries that co-hosted the summit, that they will take that spirit of responsibility sharing back into the process of developing these two global compacts that the UN – the New York declaration calls for.

And then, of course, we will be working very hard to make sure that all countries deliver on their commitments that they made at the summit to be building that into our ongoing diplomacy and engagement. The UN High Commission for Refugees has a big role here, civil society, and others, and we’ll look forward to taking stock as we often do a year later through some kind of ministerial conference to see where we are.

So I think I’ll stop my introductory comments there, and then I’m happy to answer any questions.

MODERATOR: The floor is open. Please.

QUESTION: Hajime Matsuura, Japan, Sankei. Forgive me, I have to leave (inaudible), so I would like to share two questions. Japan made a commitment of 100 million, and how would you describe this commitment for the first time? And would you – do you think Japan will be more appreciated if the country starts accepting refugees directly to resettle in the country?

The second question. Since the summit was named leaders, how would you describe the leadership of other Security Council members such as China and Russia with that regard?

MS WIESNER: Okay. So I think the $100 – 100 million commitment that you’re talking about Japan made was specifically to the Global Concessional Finance Facility, which is one of those World Bank instruments that I just mentioned. And that is for middle-income countries who are hosting refugees, so it’s both --

QUESTION: I thought it was 2.8 billion.

MS WIESNER: Yeah. So overall there’s a much larger – that’s what I’m saying – a much larger financial commitment to humanitarian assistance that Japan made. And so we – that was a huge part of us meeting our goals. So we recognize that with Japan.

You asked about – and then there was a specific commitment to the World Bank facility, which is also very timely. And then you asked about resettlement.

QUESTION: About – will you be – I think with the – Japan’s aid will be more appreciated if we start inviting the refugees themselves to resettle in the country.

MS WIESNER: Yeah, we did make it an explicit goal of this summit that richer nations not only contribute money but also look at opening their doors to refugees. And we would be very pleased if Japan would look at increasing its commitment towards resettlement.

QUESTION: If you translate this 100 million to the numbers of the value of the people being – will be resettled, with 100 million how many people do you think – refugees can be resettled in other countries? I think it depends on the time or the country, but --

MS WIESNER: Yeah, and I think this 100 million is actually focused on investment in countries of first asylum.

QUESTION: Okay. And the leadership of China and Russia?

MS WIESNER: Well, China was at the summit as a participant based on commitments that they made. Russia was at the summit as an observer based on their role in the UN Security Council. I think the leadership that was shown at the summit was shown by the countries that stood up and made significant commitments. And it was – President Obama himself mentioned – acknowledged a number of smaller countries like Portugal that will do more resettlement. Zambia committed to integrating refugees locally. And we feel that the summit was about really highlighting the leadership that exists outside of the Security Council far beyond – far beyond that.

QUESTION: Manik Mehta. I am a syndicated journalist. I was recently in Europe, specifically in Germany. There’s a movement going on within Germany, and you must have followed the elections. The AFD scored a fantastic victory. But the point is that they are talking about relocating refugees to what they say are cultural regions. That means they should go to countries or regions where they feel comfortable in terms of culture, in terms of upbringing, or what have you. And by that very specifically they were referring to countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and a few others who have taken very few refugees. How does the U.S. react to that?

MS WIESNER: I don’t know that I can react to the specific German policy recommendations that you’re talking about. I --

QUESTION: Well, there’s a demand. It’s not a policy recommendation yet, but there’s obviously a lot of pressure on the government.

MS WIESNER: I mean, we – our resettlement program we resettled – we will have resettled 85,000 refugees this year. We’re aiming for 110,000 next year. We’ve resettled 3 million since 1975 in the United States. And they come from all over the world, from all regions of the world, all cultures, all religions, and they come to the United States and they make their home and they go to school and they work and open businesses and join churches and mosques and other religious institutions.

So I mean, I think the U.S. view is that refugees can find new homes anywhere, and yes, we are a particularly – we’re known to be a melting pot in the United States. But I think you see the – you see the same in many countries that integration is possible and it requires some work, but I don’t think we would subscribe to any view that certain refugees should be only resettled in certain places.

QUESTION: Compared to the number of refugees taken by Turkey or even Germany, which accepted more than a million last year, the figures look very small – U.S. figures. I just came across something. Yes, on page 3, you had about 85,000 last year and they had 3 million last year.

MS WIESNER: That’s absolutely true and that’s why increasing resettlement was one of the three goals – resettlement opportunities was one of the three goals of the summit. There is a distinction between offering asylum when people arrive at your borders and choosing to invite people to travel to your country for resettlement. There is a distinction there. We also have people who arrive at our borders and airports and request asylum, and that’s a different number and it’s much higher, actually, annually than the resettlement number.

QUESTION: How do you differentiate between asylum-seekers and refugees? What’s the basic difference?

MS WIESNER: So the asylum-seeker is somebody who arrives at your border and requests asylum, and if granted asylum, becomes a refugee. But our resettlement program is one where we identify refugees who have been given that status already somewhere else overseas, generally, and then we identify the most vulnerable to come to the United States and basically restart their life there.

So we recognize, of course, that Turkey has received huge numbers of people, that Germany has received huge numbers of people. I think what’s important is that Germany has also committed to taking refugees for resettlement. So they will also take refugees from Turkey for resettlement, from Italy for resettlement, and from other places around the world, from Ethiopia and elsewhere. Germany continues to invite people for resettlement. And those are two different programs and one is an international obligation to provide asylum and the other is quite voluntary to offer resettlement.

QUESTION: Sorry I’m late.


QUESTION: I’m Dulcie from PassBlue. What is stopping the U.S. from taking in more refugees or asylum-seekers? Why is that number so low, as you said, among the 65 million?

MS WIESNER: Well, I can tell you that the increase from 2015 to the new number of 110,000 the Administration announced just a few weeks ago represents, in and of itself, a 60 percent increase over two years – almost a 60 percent increase. So, similarly to doubling the number of slots that are available worldwide in the President’s summit, it’s significant and also not nearly enough. It’s a drop in the bucket. UNHCR has said that they believe approximately 10 percent of refugees worldwide would need resettlement for different vulnerability reasons and because they’re not safe in their country of first asylum or they need other types of assistance.

So the slots that we’re able to offer and that we’ve been able to mobilize globally do not come close to that 10 percent, but nevertheless, I think in the last few years, you’ve seen dramatic increases, and we need to continue to try to push that. I mean, the constraints are bureaucratic, they’re financial, but we’ve invested in being able to meet the numbers that we have set for ourselves.

QUESTION: So how much does it cost to resettle one refugee? If you say they’re financial, then can you put a dollar amount on --

MS WIESNER: We can’t really put a dollar amount on that. There’s money that goes federally, there’s money that goes at the state level. The State Department provides the first three months of assistance. There’s other assistance that comes in. The Health and Human Services has a responsibility as well. The Department of Homeland Security that does all the admissions interviews has staff and resource requirements and then all the security checks. So there’s a number of U.S. agencies that are involved in bringing refugees to the United States.

QUESTION: Ahmad Rahimi, the charged bomber, was involved in the case (inaudible) place in our neighborhood last weekend. He was – he is the son of a former asylum-seeker from Afghanistan and we also see a number – increasing numbers of so-called homegrown terrorists on our – on the U.S. soil whose – either a descendent or the first generation of asylum-seeker.

I was wondering how this incident, especially as – since it took – in our neighborhood affected this conversation and – or if you could read in the future how it would affect this dialogue. And how would you prove the value of enhancing this program overweighs the risk of terror to your constituents?

MS WIESNER: Well, the individual you mentioned was not a resettled refugee. As you said, he was the son of an asylee and an American citizen, and actually, that’s not terribly unique. I mean, we are a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of naturalized citizens in many ways. So we have – as every nation has, we have this sort of very small percentage of our population for whom violent extremism is attractive and who have responded and whom law enforcement is very busy in guarding against.

But from our perspective, the Refugee Admissions Program is one which scrutinizes – refugees who come to the United States are scrutinized more than any other traveler to the United States. And of the 840, I think, refugees that have been admitted to the United States since 9/11, it’s less than – less than one fraction of 1 percent have ever even been arrested or removed from the country for any concern of terrorism. So we have great faith in our vetting procedures. It’s not to say that there aren’t security threats amongst the American population writ large, but we should recognize that that population is made up of many U.S.-born citizens or naturalized citizens that have come from various origins, and that’s the nation – that’s the fabric of our society, actually, and it’s nevertheless a very, very small percentage.

QUESTION: This summit was a big event, was well publicized. Where do we go from here now? Will there be another subsequent summit to assess, to evaluate whether the objectives were actually translated into reality?

MS WIESNER: Thank you. Well, in terms of the – you’re asking specifically about the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, I assume, right?


MS WIESNER: Because there is a two-year process now that was sort of launched by the UN in terms of the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and the global compacts that will come out of that, and so that is something with – in which the U.S. Government will be very engaged.

I think what the Leaders’ Summit did was try to produce some very – and did produce some very tangible outcomes immediately. So as we talk about how we should come together as a global community to do more for refugees and share more, the intent of the summit was to do that today. So we – some of that money has already been delivered. Anything that hasn’t been delivered, we expect to be delivered to humanitarian organizations, UN and other --

QUESTION: The money was delivered by the U.S.?

MS WIESNER: No, the money will be delivered by the 32 donors who made commitments to increase their financing from last year. And some of it has been, and that which hasn’t been will – we expect to be delivered by the end of this year. Similarly, these resettlement slots we take in very good faith – the commitments that governments have made – and we know that they’ll face bureaucratic and funding challenges in pulling it off, but we take those commitments to make spaces available for refugees for resettlement in very good faith.

And then in terms of getting kids in school and refugees working, that probably is something that is worth taking stock of a year from now, because many of the commitments were commitments to change policies and do things but in partnership with the World Bank, with donor resources coming in, and that will be the work of the next few years. Countries in the Syria region have committed to getting all Syrian refugee kids in school, and that will not happen immediately, but they have made great progress since February, and we will continue to try to support them and mobilize others to make progress going forward.

QUESTION: So I might have missed how much you said that the dollar amount was actually raised. Was there a total amount?

MS WIESNER: So the target of the summit was to increase humanitarian financing from 2015 to 2016 by at least $3 billion, or 30 percent. And the increase of just those donor governments that participated in the summit was 4.5 billion from one year to the next.

QUESTION: So they went from X dollars to 4.5 billion for this year or pledging for next year --

MS WIESNER: Yeah, the difference is 4.5 billion. So I actually don’t have the baseline and the --

QUESTION: Okay. So they went above and beyond what you expected, right? You expected 3 billion --

MS WIESNER: Yeah. And it’s also nearly not enough – not nearly enough, because going to all of these events, whether it be on Nigeria or South Sudan or elsewhere, there’s a number of humanitarian appeals that are 50 percent funded. So the needs have been growing, and we have been not keeping up with the needs, but this significant increase will help.

QUESTION: On the flipside – I’m sorry. Laura Kirkpatrick and I also write PassBlue. Two questions, one is the flipside of the financial. I know that refugees on the civic and state level have a certain onus to pay back. How much of that – where – does that money just go into the administrative of the settlement services or does it count towards these long-term goals too? Sorry.

MS WIESNER: The financial targets for the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees focused on overseas humanitarian assistance.


MS WIESNER: So contributions to UNHCR, World Food Program, UNICEF, and the work that they do to support actually not just refugees but internally displaced and all victims of humanitarian crises worldwide. But your question, I think, is a different question around those refugees who are resettled in the United States who do pay back the loan that they get for their flights to the United States, and they do that over a period of time when they begin working and earning income in the United States. And that money goes back into the program.

QUESTION: It does. Okay. Sorry to kind of – and the second was in terms of measuring it, and I’m sorry, it’s the U.S., so this is a politics question. With the change of administration, will – do you see the measurements continue to seek the same metrics or --

MS WIESNER: I think what the challenge will be – irrespective of a change in the U.S. administration – is for everybody to continue to marshal these resources and to increase them going forward. And that’s the challenge.

It – frankly, it took a lot of diplomatic effort to reach the point where we had 50 countries making the commitments that they made on Tuesday, and again, that we believe that those were made absolutely in good faith. But there is more to be done. There is plenty more to be done. So that same spirit of moving forward and doing more and finding ways to do so needs to continue. So that’s the case not just in the United States but in every country, and I think here at the United Nations as well.

QUESTION: I think he was asking who’s going to do that, who’s going to make sure that it moves forward, because it seems like there’s sort of a void, there’s certain lack of leadership on this issue, and obviously U.S. took the leadership helm for the summit, but there was nothing precisely said about who was going to do it next year or who’s going to keep track of the process.

MS WIESNER: That’s true. I think there will be a follow-up meeting a year from now. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that settled in terms of who would host that. So I think stay tuned for that.

QUESTION: I thought Canada.

MS WIESNER: So that was not finalized. So --

QUESTION: Ah, okay.

MS WIESNER: -- there was a bit of a --

QUESTION: I just have a very fundamental question.


QUESTION: And that relates to the U.S. policy governing admission of refugees and asylum seekers. Until the Syrian crisis blew up, there was no sort of policy at all. I mean, it was a policy, but it was characterized by a very strong ad hoc element, and only recently people are talking about it in a very tangible way. Would you share that view?

MS WIESNER: I might need you to restate the question.

QUESTION: Well, okay, I’ll give you very concrete examples. During the – in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the U.S. took in a number of refugees, and it has also been taking in more refugees but in a very sporadic way. So until the time when the Syrian crisis blew up, there was no proper policy. It was a very ad hoc kind of a reaction depending on who was talking to you. And now there is a need to formulate, to give some kind – to provide some kind of contours to a policy that would have a long-term kind of – long-term vision, if vision is the right word.

MS WIESNER: Well, in terms of admissions of refugees for resettlement to the U.S., it’s right that the numbers have gone up and down a bit in the last several decades. Since 2010, they have only gone up, and that was not just in reaction to the crisis in Syria; that was this Administration’s commitment to continue to do more on refugees.

In terms of global refugee policy, I think that that is why the UN and the Obama Administration focused on refugees with these summits here in New York this week, is to recognize that there has been an ad hoc response globally in that the countries that have borne the greatest burden have been the countries that have been closest to crisis, and that that has become untenable with countries, as you’ve already noted – like Turkey having 3 million refugees, Lebanon having one in four of their citizens be refugees, and countries in Africa that have hosted refugees for decades and nobody has paid as much attention they certainly feel as should have been. So I think in that sense you’re right, that there’s been an ad hoc response globally.

Our major partner is the UN High Commission for Refugees, and they are there every time in every situation in many more refugee crises than any of us have ever heard of to respond to the protection and assistance needs of refugees, and the U.S. is very proud to be the largest supporter of them. But I think what the world and the UN has been looking at this week is to really elevate that. So they will be lead in developing this compact on global responsibility-sharing for refugees, but the intent of that is to provide much more predictable responses when you have large movements of people in terms of countries coming in with financing, coming in to offer resettlement, and from the outset promoting the self-reliance of refugees so that they don’t become dependent on aid for many decades. So in that sense you’re right, that is the objective, is to have a much less ad hoc and much more predictable response to refugee movements in the world.

QUESTION: So this 4.5 billion that was pledged, does it go – is it channeled through one – to one source basically, the UN, or is it up to each country to say, “I’m going to send money here and I’m going to send money there?”

MS WIESNER: It is up to each country. We’re very supportive of money going to the UN and to international humanitarian organizations like the ones that I spoke about, and that was certainly a part of the diplomacy. So it’s not bilateral aid. For example, we’re not counting any bilateral aid from one country to another. This is all money that goes to recognized international and in some cases local humanitarian organizations, but it would go to a wide array of them.

MODERATOR: I know you joined us late, but do you have any questions?

QUESTION: Yeah, I do, actually. And I’m sorry if it’s been covered already. Actually, it’s a very kind of factual question.

MODERATOR: Can you introduce yourself?

QUESTION: Sure. My name’s Sebastian Malo. I’m with Thomson Reuters. And so essentially I’m – we’re just trying to find out which 50 countries have pledged to take in more refugees and how much – how many refugees each of these countries have pledged to take in. And I was kind of hoping that during this briefing, if I had arrived earlier, this would have been mentioned.

MS WIESNER: Yeah. So unfortunately I cannot provide you with a breakdown of country by country. Some – many of the countries who spoke at the summit did quote figures in their remarks, so I can certainly direct you to the public statements that were made. The criteria for being at the summit for those countries that pledged money in resettlement slots was a significant increase over what they had done in 2015. So I think it’s 18 countries made a significant increase, and in some cases that was a traditional country like Canada offering 25,000 more slots --


MS WIESNER: -- or more than that. And in some instances it was countries like, for example – even though I’m not going to give you a breakdown, I’ll give you an example – countries like Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Argentina. They all committed to doing much larger numbers of resettlement than they’ve done in the past. So if they were in – offering resettlement to several hundred refugees in the past, it’s now several thousand.

QUESTION: I understand you can’t give me a breakdown, especially right now during the press conference, but can your office provide any breakdown after this event?

MS WIESNER: I think it’s unlikely that we will have that breakdown just because we relied on governments themselves to decide how they wanted to articulate their commitments. But if they’re – if we do end up with that analysis, then yes.

QUESTION: Right. Well, I might just be in touch with your office to – if they can point me to those statements that you mentioned. That’d be --

MS WIESNER: Okay, yeah. That’s fine, yeah. Yeah. And we can even – and we can also talk through sort of how we sort of counted the increases from --

QUESTION: Right, yeah. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Are there any other questions?

QUESTION: Yeah, just – I mean, it was very hard to follow the Leaders’ Summit and really figure out what they’re committing to. So it’s great you actually might have a list someday, because, first of all, it’s hard to understand what a lot of the leaders are saying, and then the numbers that they’re tossing out, it’s easily misconstrued. But I mean, my impression was that a lot of money was being pledged – for example, like China – but the number of countries that were actually committing to resettling people was significantly much, much lower than the number of countries that were willing to donate money. Was that the impression you got, or --

MS WIESNER: I don’t think – I don’t think that that’s – that isn’t the case. Well, we had 32 donor countries there; 18 of them made significant increases, commitments to significantly increase resettlement.

QUESTION: Sorry, what was that number?

MS WIESNER: There were 32 donor countries --


MS WIESNER: -- 18 of whom made commitments to significantly increase resettlement. I think that that is in the fact sheet.


MS WIESNER: It’s true that countries had employed different levels of specificity in their remarks. I might point to Ethiopia, which was one of the co-hosts of the summit. They were quite specific in their commitments, and those are public, and they I think actually provide a very good kind of example of the types of things that countries committed to. They committed to expand their out-of-camp policy, which is currently now only for Eritrean refugees, to refugees of all nationalities, to benefit some 75,000, which is about 10 percent of their refugee population initially. So that means that Somalis, South Sudanese, Sudanese would also be able to benefit from that out-of-camp policy. They are making 10,000 hectors of agricultural land available for refugees in host community households, which they estimate will benefit up to 100,000 individuals.

Really interesting in Ethiopia, they and the UK both announced this new jobs compact, which builds on some of the models of the Jordan compact that were – that was rolled out in London in February, where investment in industrial parks will create some 100,000 jobs in Ethiopia, and 30 percent of those jobs will be set aside for refugees. So that was an – a really exciting development, and the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, the European Union will all be involved in financing those investments. And so that was really exactly the type of cooperation that this summit sought to foster, and I think that the event on the calendar provided a good forcing function for that project to be ready to be announced. So that’s one example.

MODERATOR: Well, I think that might be it. Thank you for attending today. Thank you so much for your time, and your remarks are really appreciated. Today’s briefing was on the record, and the transcript will be posted to our website at later today. Thank you so much.

MS WIENER: Thank you.