Record Displacement Meets a Sluggish Response
65.3 million, a total just larger than the population of the United Kingdom. While most were displaced within their own countries, a surge in refugees—a population now over 20 million—has created a growing global problem in need of global solutions. The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, held two weeks ago in New York City, ended with the beginnings of a framework for action. Participating countries issued a non-binding declaration with fine, albeit largely abstract, humanitarian commitments, but delayed adoption of a formal “global compact” for the on-the-ground treatment and resettlement of migrants and refugees until 2018. Concrete commitments did ensue from a complementary event, in which a coalition of 30 countries led by the US promised to increase humanitarian aid for refugees by $4.5 billion, to approximately double resettlement places, and to provide education to 1 million more refugee children. Although a step in the right direction, the pledges lack the ambition required by the scale of the problem. If trends continue, 2018 will likely see a new record level of displacement; it will need a record level of political will.