In September, the United States will convene an international summit on refugees at the United Nations General Assembly. Each attending nation will pledge to accept more refugees with the goal of doubling refugee resettlement. In preparation for this summit, the UN released a new report detailing its recommendations for a “more predictable and equitable way of responding to large movements of refugees.”
The report focuses on burden sharing between countries to handle the growing refugee crisis, but the report also called for greater private sector involvement:
There should be the broad engagement of a wide range of actors to include refugees and migrants. Local civil society organizations, faith communities, the private sector, the media, national human rights institutions and refugees’ and migrants’ associations should be encouraged to play more active roles, and Member States should build partnerships with them.
We have argued that the best way to achieve this goal is through a new privately funded refugee program that finances refugee resettlement through private philanthropy and through private refugee sponsorship, which has been used with great success in Canada.
The new UN report repeats calls from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to create private refugee sponsorship programs throughout the world. Last year, UNHCR called private refugee sponsorship an “innovative way to increase opportunities for Syrian refugees.” As many governments around the world are heeding this call, as we have pointed out, it’s time for the United States to join the trend.