On 20 November 2015, Ban Ki-Moon proposed holding a high level meeting on refugees in 2016. In one of its final decisions of 2015, the UN General Assembly formally requested UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon to prepare a report and recommendations on the issue of Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants by May 2016, and to convene a high-level plenary meeting at the start of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly.
On 5 January 2016, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Karen AbuZayd of the United States as his Special Adviser on the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. She will work with UN entities and consult with Member States and others in the lead-up to the summit; she will also be involved in the preparation of the Secretary General’s report.
The goal of the summit is to create a new set of global principles on refugees and migration, which would be the first of their kind, and to “secure new and concrete commitments to expand opportunities for refugees worldwide and support to frontline states”.
Ireland has been selected to co-facilitate the preparations for summit of world leaders later this year. This will involve reaching agreement on the modalities for the summit and leading those negotiations, if it is agreed that there should be a negotiated outcome from the summit.
On 9 February 2016, the President of the UN General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, wrote to all Permanent Representatives and Permanent Observers to the United Nations announcing the appointment of two co-facilitators for the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants:
“I have appointed H.E. Mrs. Dina Kawar, Permanent Representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland as co-facilitators to lead open, transparent and inclusive consultations with Member States to formalize the organizational arrangements, including on a possible outcome, for the high level meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly.”
Ambassador Donoghue previously co-facilitated the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, together with Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya, which led to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a special summit of world leaders in New York on 25 September, 2015.
The high-level plenary meeting on migration will take place on Monday 19 September 2016 at the UN in New York, at the start of the General Assembly Ministerial week.
A US high-level meeting on refugee issues will also take place in New York, chaired by US President Barack Obama.