I've often traveled to New York for the opening week of the UN General Assembly, but this year I'm honored to join other civil society leaders at President Barack Obama's Leaders' Summit on Refugees. And U.S. civil society, once again, has stepped up to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to helping affected people lift themselves out of hardship in a time of historic humanitarian need.
On Sept. 15, InterAction announced that 31 of its member NGOs had pledged to collectively invest over $1.2 billion in private resources on global humanitarian assistance efforts over the next three years. These funds will assist the participating NGOs with providing urgent medical assistance, food and nutrition security, shelter, education and other essential services to refugees and displaced populations across the globe.
A majority of the $1.2 billion will come from the American people, who have chosen to donate to the participating NGOs. As recent research found, contributions from individuals between 2010 and 2014 accounted for around 69% of all private funding humanitarian funding – more than trusts, foundations or the private sector.
By donating to civil society, American civilians have expressed their resounding support for humanitarian assistance and aiding displaced individuals. And now more than ever, that support is crucial. Today, 125 million people are devastated by wars and natural disasters, including 65.3 million people who have been forced to flee their homes. The global population of forcibly displaced people today is larger than the entire population of the United Kingdom.
As leaders from around the world commit to alleviate the suffering of millions of affected people, our humanitarian imperative as civil society is to stand in solidarity and work with governments and the private sector to protect life and health, and ensure all human beings are treated with respect. Our pledge for the next three years will align with InterAction members’ World Humanitarian Summit commitments to work with local partners to deliver immediate assistance and help build peaceful communities that are resistant to the negative effects of natural disasters.
With this display of generosity comes an expectation of accountability. Over the three-year commitment period, InterAction will track and annually announce the total private investments by participating member NGOs in humanitarian aid related to refugee services and relief. Additional information and updates will be available online at www.interaction.org.
Upon announcement of the InterAction pledge, USAID Administrator Gayle Smith observed that, "With today’s global refugee crisis straining the world's resources and testing our resolve, the American people have once again stepped up through this extraordinary display of generosity from InterAction and its members." I couldn't agree more.
The American people have a long, proud tradition of aiding others in times of great need. Today's global refugee crisis is no exception.
The InterAction pledge is just the latest example of the power of collaboration. And by harnessing civil society’s resources and ability to partner with public and private sector allies, Americans can continue to show support for people and communities affected by devastating natural and man-made disasters.
Read more about the pledge at www.interaction.org.
NGOs Participating in InterAction's Humanitarian Action Pledge
- Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
- American Jewish World Services
- All Hands Volunteers
- CARE U.S.
- Catholic Relief Services
- Church World Service
- Global Communities
- Headwaters Relief Organization
- Heartland Alliance
- International Medical Corps
- International Rescue Committee
- Islamic Relief USA
- Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
- Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
- Mercy Corps
- Operation USA
- Oxfam America
- Project C.U.R.E.
- Relief International
- Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)
- Salvation Army
- Save the Children U.S.
- Stop Hunger Now
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
- U.S. Fund for UNICEF
- World Food Program USA
- World Concern
- World Hope International
- World Vision U.S.