Many of the right things were said before and during the summit, but it’s the follow up, the actions taken, that will dictate how much those words mean for the more than 65 million people displaced globally—the most there have been since World War II. Many concerns have already been expressed. Based on what our teams are seeing while providing emergency medical care to displaced people the world over, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has its own as well. The declaration aims for “concrete results in 2018,” which may be too long for many to wait. And some of the same states that ratified the declaration have been implementing increasingly harsh, restrictive, and often inhumane policies around refugees and migrants. Will this change anything?
On September 19, United Nations (UN) member states came together to formulate a more “coordinated and humane approach to address large movements of refugees and migrants,” according to the New York Declaration that was ratified today at the UN’s Global Summit on Refugees and Migrants.