UNHCR chief reiterates partnership at annual meet with NGOs

News Stories, 27 June 2008

© UNHCR/S.Hopper
High Commissioner Ant&;nio Guterres closing UNHCR's annual NGO consultations in Geneva.

GENEVA, June 27 (UNHCR) UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres reiterated here Friday the importance of the refugee agency's partnership with NGOs and stressed the need to boost the capacity of national NGOs.

"I am deeply committed to enhance this partnership," Guterres told some 350 representatives from more than 200 international and national organizations attending the closing session of the three-day UNHCR Annual Consultations with NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

There were more national NGOs attending the annual meeting than ever before, reflecting the growing importance of these partners to the work of UNHCR in the field. "The role of local NGOs has increased in a meaningful way," the High Commissioner noted, while adding that he was "particularly concerned with increased capacity of local NGOs."

Guterres also expressed concern about human rights violations and the "narrowing of the humanitarian space." He said NGOs were important as "strong allies to make sure that human rights are respected."

He also addressed the issue of urban refugees, adding that this problem "will be our key priority ... in the near future." He specifically mentioned Damascus and Amman, where the huge numbers of Iraqi refugees had been an eye-opener for UNHCR. "This trend will be bigger and bigger."

This year's consultations were opened on Wednesday by Deputy High Commissioner L. Craig Johnstone. The main theme was human rights, but participants discussed a wide range of issues and themes.

Queen Noor of Jordan called at Wednesday's opening for renewed international support for the Iraqi refugee relief programmes of UNHCR and others. The queen's Al Noor Al Hussein Foundation is an NGO partner of UNHCR, which is facing a funding crisis for its Iraqi programme.

The NGO consultations provide an important forum to raise issues, network, and exchange views with UNHCR on 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 third of UNHCR's resources are channelled through its partners. The UN refugee agency works with more than 600 NGOs worldwide.

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Non-Governmental Organizations

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

Governments as Partners

UNHCR works with host governments to protect and assist refugees and to find solutions.

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

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

Annual Consultations with NGOs

An important yearly forum.

2014 Annual Consultations with NGOs

The 2014 Annual Consultations with NGOs took place from 17 to 19 June 2014 at the International Conference Centre Geneva (ICCG). For further information, visit our website:

The High Commissioner

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

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

As a massive food distribution gets underway in six UNHCR-run camps for tens of thousands of internally displaced Congolese in North Kivu, the UN refugee agency continues to hand out desperately needed shelter and household items.

A four-truck UNHCR convoy carrying 33 tonnes of various aid items, including plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets and jerry cans crossed Wednesday from Rwanda into Goma, the capital of the conflict-hit province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The aid, from regional emergency stockpiles in Tanzania, was scheduled for immediate distribution. The supplies arrived in Goma as the World Food Programme (WFP), with assistance from UNHCR, began distributing food to some 135,000 displaced people in the six camps run by the refugee agency near Goma.

More than 250,000 people have been displaced since the fighting resumed in August in North Kivu. Estimates are that there are now more than 1.3 million displaced people in this province alone.

Posted on 6 November 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Since 2006, renewed conflict and general insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province has forced some 400,000 people to flee their homes – the country's worst displacement crisis since the formal end of the civil war in 2003. In total, there are now some 800,000 people displaced in the province, including those uprooted by previous conflicts.

Hope for the future was raised in January 2008 when the DRC government and rival armed factions signed a peace accord. But the situation remains tense in North Kivu and tens of thousands of people still need help. UNHCR has opened sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) and distributed assistance such as blankets, plastic sheets, soap, jerry cans, firewood and other items to the four camps in the region. Relief items have also been delivered to some of the makeshift sites that have sprung up.

UNHCR staff have been engaged in protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs and other populations at risk across North Kivu.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Posted on 28 May 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

UNHCR and Partners Tackle Malnutrition in Mauritania Camp

The UN refugee agency has just renewed its appeal for funds to help meet the needs of tens of thousands of Malian refugees and almost 300,000 internally displaced people. The funding UNHCR is seeking is needed, among other things, for the provision of supplementary and therapeutic food and delivery of health care, including for those suffering from malnutrition. This is one of UNHCR's main concerns in the Mbera refugee camp in Mauritania, which hosts more than 70,000 Malians. A survey on nutrition conducted last January in the camp found that more than 13 per cent of refugee children aged under five suffer from acute malnutrition and more than 41 per cent from chronic malnutrition. Several measures have been taken to treat and prevent malnutrition, including distribution of nutritional supplements to babies and infants, organization of awareness sessions for mothers, increased access to health facilities, launch of a measles vaccination campaign and installation of better water and sanitation infrastructure. Additional funding is needed to improve the prevention and response mechanisms. UNHCR appealed last year for US$144 million for its Mali crisis operations in 2013, but has received only 32 per cent to date. The most urgent needs are food, shelter, sanitation, health care and education.

The photographs in this set were taken by Bechir Malum.

UNHCR and Partners Tackle Malnutrition in Mauritania Camp

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African RefugeesPlay video

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African Refugees

The UN refugee agency and its partners appealed for more donor support to cope with the continuing outflow and deteriorating condition of refugees from the Central African Republic.
Iraq: High Commissioner visits Arbat campPlay video

Iraq: High Commissioner visits Arbat camp

Concluding a visit to Iraq, UNHCR chief António Guterres met with Syrian refugees in Arbat camp in the Kurdistan region. Guterres noted the recent proliferation of humanitarian crises, but urged the international community not to forget about Syria, "the mega protracted crisis of our times."
Iraq: High Commissioner visits displaced IraqisPlay video

Iraq: High Commissioner visits displaced Iraqis

This week UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is visiting Iraq to meet with families displaced by conflict in recent weeks. After listening to accounts of their difficult journeys to safety, Guterres called for more support to help deal with the crisis. He will also visit some of the 300,000 Syrian refugees currently living in camps in northern Iraq.