UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016

UN General Assembly hall

UN General Assembly hall with speaker Mogens Lykketoft, President of the Assembly’s seventieth session

The UN General Assembly hosted a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach.

It was the first time the General Assembly had called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on large movements of refugees and migrants and was a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response. The Summit was 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.

Relive the Summit

All proceedings were broadcast live and can now be found on UN WebTV.

You can download statements and rewatch them on our statements and video page.

You can find photos in our photo gallery.

The New York Declaration

On the day of the Summit 193 Member States signed up one plan for addressing large movements of refugees and migrants: The New York Declaration. 

When and where?

The Summit was an all day event on Monday 19 September 2016 at the UNHQ in New York.

Download the full programme or view it below.

Download the Provisional list of speakers for the plenary meetings.

Download the Provisional list of speakers for the round tables and the list of co-chairs for the roundtables.

Discussions also took place throughput the day in the  the SDG Media Zone.


The High Level summit was organized by the President of the General Assembly on behalf of Member States. 

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, to be submitted to the General Assembly in May 2016.

In February 2016, the President of the General Assembly 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 finalise the organisational arrangements, including on a possible outcome, for the High level summit in September.

FInd out more about the background to the Summit and download the supporting documents


The Summit was 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.  Processes for civil society and private sector to speak in the roundtables were managed by the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) and UN Global Compact respectively.

Was there a related event on 20 September 2016?

Also on the margins of the General Assembly, on 20 September 2016, the United States President Obama hosted the Leaders' Summit on Refugees, alongside co-hosts Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico and Sweden, which appealed to governments to pledge significant new commitments on refugees. While the Leaders' Summit focused on refugees, not migrants, the General Assembly High-Level Summit addressed large movements of both. The two events complemented one another.