On September 18, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken convened the first ministerial meeting of the Resettlement Diplomacy Network (RDN) on the margins of the 78th UN General Assembly. The RDN is a new multilateral initiative launched by the government of the United States. Its goal is to drive high-level strategic and diplomatic engagement among resettlement states, to strengthen and expand global refugee resettlement and additional third-country pathways to protection.
The RDN provides a collaborative governmental forum to identify opportunities for closer cooperation among its participants and avenues for collective action to amplify, enhance, and elevate the importance of resettlement and complementary pathways as part of the global protection system.
Under the chairmanship of the United States (Chair), Ministers and representatives from Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom took part in the ministerial meeting, joined by the European Commissioner for Home Affairs. The Refugee Hub and the Migration Policy Institute serve as the inaugural secretariat for the RDN to support the U.S. chairmanship.
Over the last decade, the number of people forced to flee their homes has increased each year. Today, over 110 million people are displaced worldwide – more than at any other time in human history. More than two million of them need resettlement – far outstripping the capacity of the existing global infrastructure.
We – the ministerial representatives from the Governments of Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, as well as the Commissioner for Home Affairs of the European Commission – gathered under the chairmanship of the U.S. Secretary of State to reiterate our collective commitment to address these challenges.
Today, we agreed to join forces and work together to strengthen global resettlement through the Resettlement Diplomacy Network (RDN). We intend to collaborate on addressing the displacement of populations of concern – in a spirit of strategic solidarity – to maximize the impact of individual efforts and provide more solutions to people on the move.
At today’s ministerial meeting we endorsed the initial workplan of the Resettlement Diplomacy Network, to advance work around three pillars: (1) strengthening the global resettlement infrastructure; (2) addressing current situations of concern in specific regions; and (3) identifying opportunities for strategic solidarity.
As one of our first actions under this workplan, we have agreed to establish a new Emergency Coordination Platform (“Red Phone”) to ensure closer and more efficient collaboration between our member countries to respond to individual or collective situations requiring swift resettlement.
We also intend to step up coordinated diplomacy among interested RDN members, including through targeted outreach to third countries. Through the RDN, we will work collaboratively to identify situations where collective diplomatic action can expand or improve resettlement and other protection pathways to offer durable solutions to vulnerable populations, foster greater collaboration with third countries, or reduce bottlenecks that inhibit resettlement.
Two years after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, we also reaffirmed our enduring commitment to addressing the situation of Afghans at risk. We will leverage the RDN to enhance our coordination to provide targeted solutions, share best practices and address practical obstacles in order to reach individuals at risk.
Through the RDN, we aim to work together to foster fast, nimble, and flexible responses to situations of particular concern to RDN member states. We will explore concrete opportunities for solidarity and strengthened cooperation in specific regions and for specific populations of concern, notably in Central and South America, including through the Safe Mobility Offices initiative; along the Central Mediterranean route; and in Southeast Asia. We also intend to collaborate to expand solutions for LGBTQI+ individuals fleeing persecution and Human Rights Defenders.
We note the intention of the U.S. Chair to organize future RDN meetings to review progress in the priority areas and continue strengthening voluntary cooperation.
We also welcome the presence of the representative of the Government of New Zealand and New Zealand’s continued commitment to participate in and actively contribute to the network.