We come together at a time when we face many global risks – a slowing global economy, conflicts that persists for decades, climate change, natural disasters, and pandemics. These risks affect all countries, and threaten our shared mission of ending extreme poverty by 2030.
I’d like to give a special thanks to the world’s humanitarian workers who put their lives at risk everyday on the front lines of emergencies. The targeted attacks on hospitals in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Syria are crimes against humanity. This must stop. Humanitarian workers are acting with great courage, and the world’s leaders must act with courage as well to do all in their power to stop these attacks.
We at the World Bank Group are new to this field of humanitarian crisis – we have worked for 70 years on the longer-term development of low- and middle-income nations. But humanitarian crises often last for years, some a generation or more, and we know that we cannot sit on the sidelines any longer.
I speak today on behalf of all the multilateral development banks – we have released a statement of our joint commitments for this meeting. As part of this collective conversation, let me offer three ways the World Bank Group and the multilateral development banks could help:
First, we will work with all of you to produce new data and evidence – as well as apply our global knowledge from the field — to identify and support what works best in specific environments to respond to the needs of refugees and host countries. We also commit to working with all of you to use this evidence to go upstream to do the kind of risk analysis that might allow us to prevent conflicts and fragility.
Second, we must embrace the power of leveraging public funds for greater impact. It’s difficult to imagine any other way of achieving a scale of response that is truly equal to the challenge. The World Bank Group has developed the MENA financing facility and is now working on a global crisis response platform, which would provide resources to low- and middle-income countries hosting refugees across the world. We plan to launch this platform in September at the UN General Assembly. Working with humanitarian actors and with countries hosting refugees, we will develop financing schemes with long-term, extremely low-interest loans that can support relevant development projects at appropriate scale.
And third, we will explore the tying of this funding to specific outcomes in addressing protracted humanitarian crises. We believe there is work to be done in defining the outcomes that we want and we stand ready to help. Once the desired outcomes are clear, a program called P4R – program for results – would, for example, release financing to countries and to approved humanitarian actors when the results are achieved. This program has transformed development work, and I believe this performance-based financing could do the same for protracted humanitarian emergencies.
We know that the humanitarian and development communities must come together to support the 60 million people who are displaced today. We are here today to express to all of you our commitment to learning from you and stepping up to embrace our historic responsibility to the global community.