Refugees and migrants take center stage in New York, the Clinton Global Initiative bids farewell, and the Global Fund hits its target — with some caveats. Meanwhile, aid convoys reach besieged populations in Syria, following Monday's deadly attack. This week in development news.
World leaders stepped up their commitments to migrants and refugees during two complementary summits at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The first — a U.N. Summit on Migrants and Refugees — led to the adoption of a “New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees,” a broad statement that outlines states’ obligations to displaced people and migrants. While many criticized this document’s lack of specific commitments on refugee resettlement and migrant and refugee protection obligations, the declaration does pave the way for what many hope will be more ambitious global compacts for migrants and refugees, to be developed over the next two years. The second summit, hosted by President Obama, focused on more concrete commitments, including from private sector groups and multilateral organizations. The White House touted the summit’s contribution to an additional $4.5 billion in humanitarian finance over 2015 levels, a large increase in refugee resettlement slots, and $650 million in commitments from 51 American companies. The summit also saw contributions to the World Bank’s new Global Crisis Response Platform, which will provide concessional loans to low- and middle-income countries hosting refugees.
President Bill Clinton and his Clinton Global Initiative partners struck a tone of continuity at CGI’s 12th and final annual meeting. Many of the initiatives that have sprung from the Clinton Foundation’s broad network of partnerships and commitments, such as the Clinton Health Access Initiative — now just CHAI — will spin off to become independent entities, so they can carry on their work without too much disruption from the ongoing U.S. presidential election. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and questions about overlap between the Clinton Foundation and U.S. foreign policy have compelled the Clinton family to take a step back from their “operating foundation,” and CGI is reported to be cutting “dozens” of positions this year. Devex Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar spoke with Clinton Foundation co-chair Chelsea Clinton about CGI’s legacy and the Clinton Foundation’s future at the annual meeting in New York this week. “If my mom wins … we know that changes have to be made, and so all of our international work will either be transferred to partner organizations or will be spun off to be independent entities,” Clinton said.
Donors at the fifth replenishment conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Montreal, Canada, helped the multilateral health fund get within sight of an “ambitious and realistic” funding goal. The replenishment raised $12.9 billion from public and private donors, falling just $100 million short of its fundraising target. “This is a floor, not a ceiling, and this replenishment conference is really the beginning of a three-year replenishment period, and we will be continuing to raise money through that period,” the Global Fund’s head of communications Seth Faison told Devex in an interview. The fifth replenishment saw new donors emerge — such as Qatar — and it saw new donation models, including tying funds to performance metrics. It’s not all good news though. “Civil society members who spoke with Devex indicated that the funding shortages are more dire than they appear from the headline numbers. Funding to combat HIV/AIDS for example has been falling for the past half-decade as donors move on to other causes,” Flavie Halais reported for Devex from Montreal.
Aid convoys in Syria resumed efforts to deliver humanitarian relief, following a convoy attack on Monday — the deadliest in Syria in the five-year civil war. According to the U.N., a 25-truck convoy with food supplies for 40,000 people arrived in the town of Moadamiya, and more trucks are scheduled to leave on Friday and Saturday. American officials are accusing Russia of Monday’s attack — which Russia denies, blaming Syrian rebels of violating the truce. During a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for the immediate grounding of the Syrian air force in order to restore the weeklong ceasefire.
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Michael Igoe is a senior correspondent for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers U.S. foreign aid and emerging trends in international development and humanitarian policy. Michael draws on his experience as both a journalist and international development practitioner in Central Asia to develop stories from an insider's perspective.
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