Call to Action on the Global Refugee Crisis

AP Images.
AP Images.

Today, the White House is announcing that 51 companies from across the American economy have made new, measurable, and significant commitments to aid refugees in the United States and around the world in response to the President’s June Call to Action. These companies, representing more than 2.5 million employees, more than $775 billion in annual revenue, and more than $3.2 trillion in market capitalization, are standing with the Administration to demonstrate that private sector innovation and resources can have a durable impact on refugees residing in countries on the frontlines of the global refugee crisis and in countries of resettlement, like the United States.  In total, these 51 companies have committed to investing, donating, or raising more than $650 million.  These commitments will provide:

  • Support for more than 6.3 million refugees across more than 20 countries;
  • Educational opportunities for more than 80,000 refugees, including through digital content, mentorship, and classroom support;
  • Employment opportunities for more than 220,000 refugees, including through mentorship, training, internships, and job placements;
  • Greater financial inclusion and economic integration for more than 4 million refugees; and
  • Partnerships with more than 70 refugee-serving NGOs.

There are more than 65 million displaced people in the world today, the highest number on record since the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) began collecting statistics.  More than 21 million of these people have crossed international borders in search of safety and are registered as refugees.

A crisis of this scale requires more than government action. In issuing the Call to Action, President Obama challenged the U.S. private sector to draw on its unique expertise, resources and entrepreneurial spirit to help refugees regain control over their lives and integrate into their new communities. Their response is unprecedented.

Call to Action Impact Areas

The Call to Action was principally focused on generating new commitments in three “impact areas”:

  • Education – Facilitating refugee children and young adults’ education by ensuring that refugee students can access schools of all levels and creating quality long-distance learning platforms and programs.
  • Employment – Increasing employment opportunities for refugees, supporting refugee entrepreneurship, and assisting refugees’ reentry into the workforce.
  • Enablement – Increasing humanitarian financing, strengthening infrastructure and access to resources needed for refugees to become self-reliant, and supporting countries taking new steps to welcome refugees or allow them to work and attend school.

Partnership for Refugees:  Catalyzing Durable Solutions

To facilitate private sector commitments in response to the Call to Action, the White House announced in June the creation of thePartnership for Refugees, an initiative established through collaboration between the Department of State and USA for UNHCR, with significant support from Accenture Federal Services.  The Partnership for Refugees has provided guidance to private sector organizations that have wished to take action and has helped to ensure that their pledges are sustainable and responsive to refugees’ needs.  On November 1, 2016, the Tent Foundation will assume control over the operations and management of the Partnership for Refugees, thereby ensuring the long-term vitality of this initiative. Other federal agencies supporting this initiative include the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Homeland Security, the Small Business Administration, and the Department of Commerce.