Grading the world on how it treats refugees
But for every country stepping forward, more are stepping back.
As conflicts become more protracted, millions of displaced children are losing the lifeline of education. NGOs like the International Rescue Committee have stepped up to fill the void with initiatives like our new $100 million LEGO Foundation play-based learning partnership, but a whole generation of refugee children remain at risk.
The Global Compact represents an important — voluntary — promise to support host countries and refugees. But promises cannot become excuses for avoiding practical action that actually protects and improves lives. For the aspirations of the Global Compact to be realized, four things need to happen before the next forum.
First, every host country must support refugees into work and education — the only roads to self-reliance. The EU should commit to an action plan that removes barriers to refugees, especially women, working. Donors must immediately triple their gender-based violence funding so women and girls can begin to work and learn safely. And we need to track our progress. All countries should include refugees in their sustainable development goal plans and reporting.
Second, every developing country that lets refugees work and get an education should get real long-term financing from the World Bank and others. We must move beyond short-term humanitarian funding cycles, otherwise our progress will wane with each one.
Last, resettlement needs to be rescued from the US retreat. The European Commission should collectively pledge at least 30,000 places, a pledge expected to be made at the Forum. This is very welcome, but far from enough. We need political will to ensure these pledges translate into places. And it must be matched by a commitment to scale up to 250,000 by 2025, a perfectly fair and achievable target.
There’s still a chance to make the step-change in global responsibility sharing the Global Compact promised. But it will take more than words.