President Maurer, thank you for the kind introduction, and most importantly, thank you for your singular leadership on humanitarian issues, including your dedicated service with the UN, the ICRC, and your newest role here with the World Economic Forum.
I’m also pleased to share the stage with my esteemed Kenyan colleagues. Your government’s willingness to innovate, integrate, and realize the full benefits of hosting refugees is an inspiration for all of us.
And we need inspiration to face the significant challenges that confront us. Two billion people live in poverty and insecurity around the world. Sadly, despite the collective efforts of donor governments and humanitarian actors, we are simply unable to adequately respond to their needs. And violent conflict, destructive natural disasters, unchecked aggression, and rapid climate change continue to exacerbate peak, unmet needs for humanitarian assistance.
Faced with this daunting reality, we have an opportunity and an obligation to meet these record needs. But business as usual is not the order of the day. Now is the time to innovate and embrace new methods of financing, to identify new ways of working with the private sector, and to enable multilateral organizations and development banks to more robustly respond in fragile areas where needs are most acute. Together, we can adapt our global humanitarian architecture to respond more effectively to these 21st century challenges.
To that end, the United States is proud to join with the World Economic Forum in calling on humanitarian and development organizations, donor and host governments, development finance institutions, foundations, investors, and corporations to mobilize $10 billion in investment capital. Together, through this unprecedented call to action, we can enable 1,000 businesses to enter or scale up in frontier markets by 2030. We can reduce the dependency of countries on foreign aid and increase community resilience and self-reliance.
This is all part of the United States’ own effort to be more innovative, work with new partners, and use diplomacy to solve protracted humanitarian problems. To this end, our partnership with the World Economic Forum advocates for greater private sector investment in frontier markets.
Let me return to Kenya, where we all have an opportunity to support the Government’s new refugee inclusion law. For over 30 years, 600,000 refugees have lived in two camps in the most remote and underdeveloped parts of the country. This new law and impending regulations promise a path forward that will provide refugees with identity documents, work permits, and freedom of movement. These policies will uphold the rights and dignity of refugees and will enable Kenya to harness economic growth opportunities that such migration offers. Kenya’s new policy provides an opening for us to see if we can, in fact, do business differently.
The Call to Action is structured around several key events starting today at the UN General Assembly in New York, continuing at the Global Refugee Forum in December, and culminating at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos in January 2024. These events will build on each other, with the Global Refugee Forum tapping into the momentum from today’s launch to shine a spotlight on countries such as Kenya who have made significant strides to integrate refugees into their communities.
The World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos will then advance public-private cooperation as one of the leading platforms for governments, global companies, and international organizations to unite around common goals.
The United States challenges the 2023 Global Refugee Forum to look beyond traditional humanitarian donors and organizations to a broad coalition of development agencies, private sector actors, civil society, and refugees themselves to respond to humanitarian and refugee crises more sustainably. Assistance to refugees must move beyond individual aid projects and embrace multi-faceted and innovative new approaches. The United States looks to galvanize ideas and energy around these new approaches at the Forum in December.
So I invite all of you to join this effort with us. We need new tools and new partnerships to adequately address the needs of millions of people, all while reforming the way we approach these challenges and seize opportunities. I look forward to today’s discussion on how we can work even more closely together to make this call to action a reality.