Multilateral development banks stepping up support for refugees

By Nibal Zgheib

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A refugee in Jordan carrying water - EBRD

Multilateral development banks (MDBs) are stepping up their commitment to supporting refugees and those affected by forced displacement, as well as host communities, with targeted financing across a wide range of sectors and policy instruments.

During the Global Refugee Forum held from 16-18 December in Geneva, MDBs, including the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank Group, affirmed their commitment to supporting the Global Compact on Refugees developed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and agreed to by United Nations member states and other relevant stakeholders.

Through their coordination platform on economic migration and forced displacement, currently chaired by the EBRD, these MDBs are seeking to strengthen operational coordination and knowledge-sharing to enhance their cooperation with other partners.

The EBRD and partner MDBs will promote and support the essential contribution of the private sector to developing sustainable and inclusive approaches to their work with refugees and host communities. They will enhance the participation of the private sector as a source of employment opportunities and a means to develop sustainable skills.

In response to the refugee crisis in the Middle East, the EBRD has invested €268.4 million in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and mobilised €160 million of grants to support projects that benefit refugees and host communities.

Pierre Heilbronn, EBRD Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with our colleagues in MDBs to deliver on the commitments we made together at the Global Refugee Forum. This is critically important work, no matter where an MDB is working, and increased cooperation will deliver better outcomes for our countries and for refugees.”

The Global Compact on Refugees is a framework for more predictable and equitable sharing of responsibility. It provides a blueprint for governments, international organisations and other stakeholders to ensure that host communities get the necessary support so that refugees can lead productive lives.

The MDBs acknowledged the importance of the Global Compact on Refugees as a key enabler and accelerator towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the importance of the protection mandate of the UNHCR.

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