Remarks at a Third Committee General Discussion with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Jonathan Shrier
U.S. Deputy Representative to the Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
November 1, 2023


The United States thanks this year’s facilitator, Norway, and all of the participants for their continued commitment and leadership in strengthening effective and efficient humanitarian assistance. We also thank High Commissioner Grandi for his leadership of UNHCR, and the UNHCR team who have continued to carry out an important mission in the field despite ever-increasing needs exacerbated by climate change and conflict. The United States is unequivocally committed to humanitarianism, multilateralism, and supporting those most in need. We call on all of our fellow Member States to join us in this most solemn commitment.

Conflict remains the main driver of humanitarian needs. Violence continues to force people to flee their homes, deny them access to sufficient food and basic necessities, and rob them of their dignity and livelihoods. We must unite to take collective action to address these issues. The needs are outpacing our ability to meet them, and we urge the international community to step up its contributions while also thinking creatively about ways to respond to crises in this new reality.

We continue to see efforts to impede the work of humanitarians to deliver critical aid to the people who need it. We condemn in the strongest terms attacks on humanitarian workers and the destruction of their facilities, vehicles, and supplies. We reiterate that parties to conflict must adhere to their international humanitarian law obligations and stress that it is essential that humanitarian actors are able to operate safely. The United States stands in solidarity with humanitarians and recognizes their great sacrifice in service of the greater good.

The United States is the single largest donor of international humanitarian assistance, providing nearly $1.9 billion to UNHCR in 2023. But we know that is not enough. Across the world, more than 330 million people require humanitarian assistance. We need smarter, more creative solutions to address their needs. Whether it is better linking development solutions with humanitarian efforts or utilizing a whole-of-society response to the impacts of climate change, our ability to innovate will be essential to delivering on our promise of assisting those in need.

The United States will continue delivering solutions for refugees. This past year, we resettled refugees from every region in the world, 40 percent of whom came from Africa. We are working to be able to receive 125,000 refugee arrivals in the next year – a 30-year high. We will continue to innovate and streamline refugee admissions programs and policies.

Thank you.