• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

UNHCR chief Guterres sends message of partnership to NGO partners

News Stories, 28 September 2007

© UNHCR/S.Hopper
High Commissioner António Guterres talks about partnership at an annual meeting with NGOs.

GENEVA, September 28 (UNHCR) UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on Friday called for a strengthened strategic partnership between the refugee agency and its many NGO partners.

His message came during a closing address to representatives of some 200 non-governmental organizations small and large, national and international attending annual consultations in Geneva with UNHCR.

"I do believe that more and more the UN system, the Red Cross-Red Crescent system and the NGO movements need to establish ... a partnership that is strategic, that is a partnership among equals and that is accountable to the beneficiaries, to the people we care for, because they are the raison d'être of our work," he said after his closing speech.

Guterres outlined several areas in which NGO partnership, help and feedback could help the refugee agency plan and achieve internal reforms, advocate more effectively with donors and governments, and better serve refugees and other people of concern.

"It is important to have your input in our change process," Guterres said, nothing that the streamlining of headquarter operations were aimed at freeing up resources and funds for UNHCR field operations, including those implemented by NGO partners.

He said a strong relationship with NGOs would be vital in meeting and publicising the challenges of the 21st Century, including the growing asylum-migration nexus and displacement due to war, persecution, deprivation and environmental degradation.

This year's consultations, attended by some 300 people and co-hosted by the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), were opened on Wednesday by Deputy High Commissioner Craig Johnstone. The main theme was partnership, but other special debate topics included "Next Steps in Durable Solutions" and "Special Situation Focuses."

Meeting coordinator Manisha Thomas said the meeting had given NGOs a valuable opportunity to network and have frank discussions with UNHCR staff and other NGO colleagues.

"The relationships that get built at meetings like this help in terms of further work and future work. A number of ideas have come out and a number of challenges have been put to NGOs and to UNHCR that they're going to have to work on in the future," said Thomas, an ICVA policy adviser.

The NGO consultations provide an important forum to raise issues, network, and exchange views with UNHCR. They will be followed on Monday by the annual gathering of UNHCR's governing body, the Executive Committee, or ExCom. Since 1997, NGOs have participated in UNHCR's Executive and Standing Committees as observers.

For the past two decades, the annual consultations have brought together NGOs and UNHCR managers to examine all aspects of their partnership on behalf of the world's uprooted people.

NGOs are vital partners for UNHCR, implementing programmes for refugees and IDPs in some of the world's most remote and difficult places. In all, about a quarter of UNHCR's resources are channelled through its partners. The UN refugee agency works with more than 500 NGOs worldwide.

By Leo Dobbs in Geneva

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

Partnership: An Operations Management Handbook for UNHCR's Partners (Revised Edition)

A practical guide for those working with UNHCR in protecting and assisting refugees.

Non-Governmental Organizations

A priority for us is to strengthen partnerships with non-governmental organizations.

Annual Consultations with NGOs

An important yearly forum.

The High Commissioner

António Guterres, who joined UNHCR on June 15, 2005, is the UN refugee agency's 10th High Commissioner.

2015 Annual Consultations with NGOs

The 2015 Annual Consultations with NGOs will take place from 01 to 03 July at the International Conference Centre Geneva (ICCG). For further information, visit our website:

Victims of Conflict in Nigeria Find Safety in Cameroon Camp

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres visited Cameroon in late March to put a spotlight on the situation there of tens of thousands of refugees from Nigeria. These people have escaped mounting violence by insurgents in the north-east of their country. Among the places that Guterres visited during his March 24-25 visit is the Minawao Refugee Camp, where many of the uprooted have been relocated.

Situated some 120 kilometres from the dangerous border area with Nigeria in Cameroon's Far North region, Minawao camp is currently home to 33,000 Nigerian refugees, mainly from Borno state. Many of the arrivals are traumatized and in need of material and psycho-social help. They told the High Commissioner of losing their homes and belongings as well as members of their families. Some were injured. In total, an estimated 74,000 Nigerians have found refuge in Cameroon while cross-border incursions from Nigeria have displaced 96,000 Cameroonians. UNHCR photographer Hélène Caux also visited Minawao to hear the individual stories.

Victims of Conflict in Nigeria Find Safety in Cameroon Camp

UNHCR chief meets Malian refugees in Burkina Faso

On 1 August, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres travelled to northern Burkina Faso with the United States' Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BRPM), Anne Richard. In Damba camp, they met with Malian refugees who had fled northern Mali in the past six months to escape the ongoing conflict and political instability. To date, more than 250,000 Malian refugees have fled their homes and found refuge in neighbouring countries, including 107,000 in Burkina Faso alone. The UN refugee agency has only received one-third of the US$153 million it needs to provide life-saving assistance such as shelter, water, sanitation, health services, nutrition and protection to the refugees. UNHCR fears that the volatile political and humanitarian situation in Mali could lead to further outflows to neighbouring countries.

UNHCR chief meets Malian refugees in Burkina Faso

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie joined UNHCR chief António Guterres on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where they met with boat people who have fled unrest in North Africa.

More than 40,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have crossed the Mediterranean on overcrowded boats and descended on the small island since the beginning of the year.

The UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador flew to Lampedusa from Malta, which has also been a destination for people fleeing North Africa by boat.

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Greece: Refugee Crisis in EuropePlay video

Greece: Refugee Crisis in Europe

Over 100,000 refugees have arrived to Greece by sea this year. UNHCR is mobilizing emergency teams, resources and delivering basic humanitarian assistance in order to address the most urgent gaps and support government efforts. Volunteers, local communities and NGOs are providing invaluable assistance but they need support.

Turkey: World Refugee Day visitsPlay video

Turkey: World Refugee Day visits

On World Refugee Day the UNHCR High Commissioner, António Guterres, along with Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, travelled to southeastern Turkey, the home of hundreds of thousands of refugees from conflicts in Syria and Iraq. They were in the midyat refugee camp to see conditions for these people and to issue a warning to the world.
Kuwait donating money to UNHCRPlay video

Kuwait donating money to UNHCR

Kuwait has donated just over US$120 million to the UN refugee agency to assist its efforts in dealing with the humanitarian situation resulting from the crisis in Syria. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres warmly thanked and praised the government of Kuwait and its people for the extreme generosity when he received a cheque for the amount at a ceremony on Wednesday evening in Geneva.