Opening Statement of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at the Sixty First Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme

Geneva, 4 October 2010


In his Opening Statement to the 61st Session of the Executive Committee and the first since being reelected by the General Assembly to a second five-year term in May 2010, the High Commissioner will set out the major challenges confronting UNHCR today and the steps being taken to meet them.

  • Intractability of conflict: Reduced availability of solutions, responding to the deteriorating environment for peacekeeping

  • Globally displaced populations: Afghan and Somali refugees and asylum-seekers

  • Responding to protracted situations: Impact of increased duration of stay and financial/economic crisis on host countries, need for increased international solidarity, resettlement, support for refugee-affected and host areas, reducing the refugee footprint

  • Natural disasters: UNHCR mandate, internal displacement, partnership, frequency and severity of natural disasters, experience of past year, going forward

  • UNHCR reform: Key results to date, reforms still in progress

  • Funding: Global Needs Assessment (GNA), prioritization, earmarking

  • Priorities: Reinforcement of protection capacity, refugees in urban areas, strengthening emergency preparedness and response

  • Commemorations: Objectives and activities for the anniversaries of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugee and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the birth of Fridtjof Nansen, High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges.