This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on large movements of refugees and migrants and it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response. It is a watershed moment to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.
In January 2016, the Secretary-General appointed a Special Adviser, Karen AbuZayd, to work with United Nations entities and undertake consultations with Member States and other relevant stakeholders in the lead up to the Summit. This will include overseeing the Secretary-General’s report on large movements of refugees and migrants, submitted to the General Assembly in May 2016.
The Summit will be attended by heads of state and government, Ministers, and leaders from the UN System, civil society, private sector, international organizations, academia, and beyond in alignment with the General Assembly resolution establishing the summit’s modalities.
But there will be many more people who will be following the Summit through the Internet, social media, and a myriad of related events taking place around the world. The Summit will also be webcast live on webtv.un.org.
Also on the margins of the General Assembly, on 20 September 2016, the United States President Obama is hosting the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, alongside co-hosts Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico and Sweden, which will appeal to governments to pledge significant new commitments on refugees. While the Leaders’ Summit will focus on refugees, not migrants, the General Assembly High-Level Summit will address large movements of both. The two events will complement one another.