Joint Statement by the Multilateral Development Banks at the World Humanitarian Summit Responding to the Forced Displacement Crisis

May 23, 2016

We, the undersigned Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), are committed to working together, and within our respective institutional mandates, to respond to the global forced displacement crisis and further strengthen our contributions to the development agenda, complementing ongoing humanitarian, diplomatic, security and peacekeeping efforts required to meet the needs of asylum seekers, refugees, Internally Displaced People (IDPs), as well as their countries of origin and host countries. Recognizing the critical role played by humanitarian actors in this area over the years, our commitment is to work more closely together building on our development experience.

We do this within the context of the “One Humanity” agenda issued by the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) on February 9, 2016, the ongoing dialogue taking place between MDBs, the UNSG and Heads of UN agencies and the Agenda 2030. The forced displacement crisis poses a substantial threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially for countries of origin and host countries of refugees and IDPs. Our commitment also supports the forced displacement agenda outlined by the G7, G20, and G-77.

We have articulated our response to forced displacement in a joint paper which outlines the specific contribution MDBs can make to address the specific vulnerabilities of people forcibly displaced as well as host communities which have to absorb the shock created by a sudden influx of forcibly displaced people. Our response focuses on socioeconomic opportunities, acceptance and inclusion, as well as economic resilience and/or poverty reduction efforts.

Our mutual commitment to achieve results on the ground is rooted in our mandates and builds on our comparative advantages, namely: our ability to deploy an extensive range of financing, knowledge and advisory services; our capacity to mobilize and leverage public and private financing and foster private sector engagement in response to the crisis; and, our convening power, to enable stronger synergies between national and international stakeholders – including the civil society, while promoting regional cooperation.

To achieve these objectives, we resolve the following:

To focus on prevention and preparedness measures through increased resilience to shocks for countries and regions which are most exposed to fragility, MDBs are committed to provide continued and strengthened support in fragile countries and regions where there is a recognized risk of escalation into a crisis situation and to help strengthen resilience of home countries. In particular this can be achieved by stepping up technical assistance including for early warning systems, joint financing of private and public investments in an effective and innovative way, enhancing conflict and crises management skills capacities of national and sub-national institutions and supporting policy and governance reforms to strengthen economic resilience.

Specific areas for MDBs intervention include financing education systems or enhancing the quality of local education provision, improving access to finance, fostering entrepreneurship as well as increasing availability of training programs. We also commit to promote gender equality, diversity and inclusion across all sectors.

To support host communities, we commit to facilitate economic activity for host populations by fostering a more enabling business environment, while also developing support programs for infrastructure and services, job creation, service delivery and social protection. As a key complement to these activities, we will also focus on the economic resilience of the forcibly displaced and to facilitate their social cohesion and inclusion. Using innovative financing mechanisms, we commit to support infrastructure projects to improve efficiency and sustainability, as well as to establish, where feasible, public-private partnerships in health, education, water and sanitation/waste management sectors.

To move this broad agenda forward, and in accordance with our mandates and resources, we commit to focus on three specific areas where joint action is a priority: (i) joint country-level engagements: while recognizing the diversity of mandates of the MDBs, we commit to jointly engage at country-level in both crises prevention and response, in countries facing acute displacement crisis as well as countries of origin and in consultation with national stakeholders; (ii) innovative financing mechanisms to strengthen MDBs collective engagement, in line with the recommendations of the report to the Secretary-General from the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing “Too important to fail—addressing the humanitarian financing gap”; and (iii) data and evidence: MDBs and development partners will endeavor to help client countries strengthen the basis on which policies and programs are designed and help inform public debates and policy formulation.

Concerned by the urgency of the global forced displacement crisis, we are already taking concrete steps to translate our commitment into effective action on the ground to support client countries’ efforts in this area both individually and collectively. Several financial initiatives are already in place which represent the first steps in a broader effort to respond to the crisis:

  1. The MENA Facility launched by the World Bank Group, the Islamic Development Bank and the UN with other MDBs participating as implementing partners;
  2. The Resilience Programme that the European Investment Bank will present in June in response to the refugee crisis in Southern Mediterranean and Balkan countries as requested by the European Union Heads of State and Governments;
  3. The EBRD, EIB, IsDB and World Bank Group commitments in support of Syria at February 2016 London Conference;
  4. The Jobs for Youth in Africa will provide economic and social opportunities to all youth, men and women, and will incentivize political and social stability both in host and country of origin;
  5. The Plan of the Alliance for the Prosperity of the Northern Triangle supported by the Inter-American Development Bank to tackle the protracted crisis of undocumented migrant children from Central America.
  6. The EBRD’s community resilience program provides access to vital municipal services to the most affected regions in Jordan and Turkey (and in due course Lebanon), and strengthens the private sector response by supporting entrepreneurship and SME development, as well as high quality training and jobs for young women and men from host and refugee communities. 

Finally, we recognize that our collective effectiveness is directly linked to our ability to develop synergies amongst ourselves, enhance knowledge sharing, foster stronger institutional and operational collaboration and ensure adequate follow-up.

As such, we will structure our conversation at a working level, through the establishment of a Joint MDB Coordination Group, composed of representatives of each of our seven institutions. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has accepted to join as Observer. One of the first tasks of the Joint MDBs Coordination Group will be to identify countries for joint engagement opportunities.