High Level Discussion of New Global Facility to Address Refugee Crises in Middle-Income Countries

September 20, 2016

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson to convene panel including heads of government, ministers, and senior humanitarian and development officials on Global Concessional Financing Facility

NEW YORK, September 20, 2016 – Tomorrow, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson will co-chair a high-level panel discussion on the Global Concessional Financing Facility, a new effort to address refugee crises in middle income countries across the world that U.S. President Barack Obama announced today at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees. Middle income countries currently host roughly six million refugees worldwide yet struggle to find affordable and sustainable means of coping with the additional costs of hosting large refugee populations. The GCFF will help them secure the needed development financing while also bridging the gap with humanitarian organizations that provide more immediate support.

The GCFF is part of the newly launched Global Crisis Response Platform, developed by the World Bank Group to enable more systematic and scaled-up support in the face of a range of crises by bringing together knowledge, resources, and current and emerging financial tools under a single umbrella. For low income countries, the Platform aims to significantly increase the crisis response capacity of the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s arm for the world’s poorest countries. The GCFF will expand to a global scale the Concessional Financing Facility for the Middle East and North Africa (CFF), which was launched to support Jordan and Lebanon, the two middle income countries that host the largest number of refugees in relation to the size of their populations.

Middle income countries are increasingly shouldering the global responsibility of providing refuge to people fleeing conflict,” said President Kim. “It is up to the international community to ensure that these generous acts do not lead to unsustainable debts or internal tensions. This facility will build on ongoing efforts to help countries withstand this shock with long term, concessional financing that supports the expansion of the vital services that both refugees and host communities rely on.”

The CFF is providing concessional finance through the innovative use of grants from donor countries, whereby US$1 in grants is leveraged to create about US$4 in concessional financing. In July, three months after receiving initial pledges of US$140 million in grants, the CFF approved funding to support two projects in Jordan -- amounting to US$340 million in concessional financing – that, subject to the approval of their implementing organizations, will provide work permits for 130,000 Syrian refugees and reinforce water infrastructure in communities hosting refugees. To prepare for future crises, the GCFF aims to make the facility accessible to all middle income countries hosting large numbers of refugees.

The new global facility will remain focused on providing support to Jordan and Lebanon, with a goal of raising US$1 billion in grants over the next five years explicitly for the two countries. The GCFF seeks to raise an additional US$500 million in grants over the next five years so that it can help middle income countries address future refugee crises wherever they occur. In total, the facility seeks to raise US$1.5 billion to be able to provide US$6 billion in concessional financing. Today, at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, the United States pledged at least US$50 million toward that goal, with Japan pledging US$100 million, Sweden US$20 million, and Denmark US$15 million. Using an open platform that brings together humanitarian organizations, multilateral development banks, and both benefiting and supporting countries, the GCFF will ensure there is a coordinated international response to refugee crises in middle income countries world-wide.

We are now well aware that refugees need more than food and shelter,” said United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, who will also co-chair the inaugural conference. “For refugees to have a future, especially children and young people, they need to remain healthy with access to an education that will allow them to seize opportunities when they arise. This means building strong alliances between humanitarian and development organizations to provide support during the initial emergency while addressing future needs.”

Along with the co-chairs, the first meeting of the GCFF will include Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Borge Brende, British Secretary of International Development Priti Patel, United States Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, and International Rescue Committee President David Miliband.

The panel discussion, ‘Leveraging Innovative Financing to Address Refugee Crises in Middle Income Countries’,  will be held on Wednesday, September 21st from 6:30 to 8:00 P.M. in Conference Room 7 of the United Nations Headquarters.

Media accredited with the current session of the United Nations General Assembly are invited to cover the opening remarks of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. Interested should gather at the Media Liaison Desk 15 minutes prior to the event to be escorted to the venue.

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