Press release

Prime Minister pledges new UK support to help tackle migration crisis

The Prime Minister has announced how the UK is tackling some of the drivers of mass migration with new humanitarian funding to help address poverty, insecurity and conflict.

Picture: Florian Seriex/Action Against Hunger

Picture: Florian Seriex/Action Against Hunger

Speaking at President Obama’s Refugee Summit in New York, the Prime Minister demonstrated how the UK is leading the international response to mass migration crises around the world by making a series of new commitments including:

  • increasing UK humanitarian financing by more than £660 million in 2016/17 to over £1.5 billion
  • £2.5 million seed funding for a new global fund to resettle refugees
  • UK support for a jobs compact with Ethiopia to create 100,000 new jobs for Ethiopians and refugees

The provision of over £1.5 billion in humanitarian finance marks more than a 10% increase on last year’s commitment and secures the UK’s place as the second largest bilateral humanitarian donor in the world.

The UK’s investments will help to protect the world’s most vulnerable people, including those persecuted by Daesh brutality in the Middle East. It includes new funding to support refugees in Uganda, Kenya, in the Sahel and Mediterranean regions, and additional support for refugees and displaced persons in Afghanistan.

The support also maintains the UK as one of the biggest humanitarian donors to Syria crisis. To date British support has delivered life-saving support of almost 22 million food rations, over 4.4 million medical consultations; and shelter for over 476,000 people.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

I am clear that the only viable long-term response to the migration crisis is to address its root causes – conflict, disease, poverty and a lack of opportunities. If we do not tackle these issues which are forcing people from their homes then we will not reduce mass migration.

Britain has been at the forefront of the response to the migration crisis. We are the second-largest humanitarian donor in the world and are pioneering a new approach to prolonged crises.

By investing in jobs and education, giving refugees the opportunity to build a meaningful life close to where they come from, we will reduce the risks of people being caught up in mass migration, conflict or radicalisation.

We will continue to use our strong reputation on development around the world to shape a global humanitarian system fit for the 21st century that delivers for people in need and for our national interest.

The UK led the way at the recent World Humanitarian Summit to secure agreement to a ‘Grand Bargain’ between the 15 largest donors and 15 aid agencies on more efficient humanitarian financing. Commitments include greater support for local and national responders, greater transparency on where funding is being spent, improving collaboration between humanitarian and development agencies, such as the private sector, and increasing collaborative humanitarian multi-year planning and funding.

The UK will also contribute an initial £2.5 million to a new Emerging Countries Joint Support Resettlement Fund which is being led by the International Organisation for Migration in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The fund will facilitate the transfer of thousands of vulnerable refugees from places where their needs cannot be properly met to new resettlement countries, including places in Eastern Europe and Latin America. It will ensure that refugees are identified and resettled in a safe, dignified and orderly manner, reducing the need for dangerous onwards journeys.

As well as helping with the physical resettlement process the fund will support countries to develop the legislative and policy frameworks necessary for successful resettlement and integration of refugees.

The UK is also providing new support for a jobs compact with Ethiopia – the largest refugee hosting nation in Africa. The compact, agreed with the Government of Ethiopia, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the EU, will receive £80 million of UK support and support industrialisation in Ethiopia creating 100,000 new jobs for Ethiopians and refugees.

This builds on the success of the innovative approach pioneered by the UK at the London Syria conference earlier this year, which saw a deal agreed with Jordan to create jobs for refugees and Jordanians.

This ensured that support for those affected by the Syria conflict went beyond providing for their basic needs by giving them the opportunity of a livelihood close to home, as well as boosting economic development and prosperity– all of which are in the UK’s interests.

The UK is the first to commit support for this idea in Ethiopia and the main partner for the Government of Ethiopia in developing the concept.

Notes to editors:

£1.5 billion is the Department for International Development’s humanitarian financing in 2016/17 through the international humanitarian system. It includes funding already announced and over £660 million of new funding, to be spent this financial year.

This humanitarian funding will include new support for:

  • people affected by conflict in South Sudan, CAR and Nigeria
  • response to the effects of El Nino in eastern and southern Africa (including Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe)
  • refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean region
  • refugees in Uganda, Kenya, and the Sahel region
  • refugees affected by the Syria conflict and neighbouring countries hosting refugees such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey
  • refugees and internally displaced people in Afghanistan
  • people affected by conflict and natural disasters in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma

The UK’s ongoing work in Ethiopia is:

  • putting 2.5 million children through primary school
  • helping nearly 3 million pregnant women and children get the right nutrition
  • providing 300,000 people with access to clean drinking water

Britain’s longer-term support for Ethiopia has already helped millions of families to build their resilience to extreme weather events, as well as supporting basic services for the poorest; promoting job creation to drive economic development, particularly for women; tackling female genital mutilation and childhood marriage and boosting people’s nutrition.

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Published 21 September 2016
Last updated 21 September 2016 + show all updates
  1. Added translation
  2. First published.