UNHCR 2011 Ministerial Meeting

UNHCR Ministerial Meeting 7th & 8th December 2011
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Welcome to the media webpage for UNHCR's 2011 Ministerial Meeting. This page is a dedicated resource for journalists and news organizations interested in covering this event. On it, you will find a link to the accreditation page, periodically updated information about the meeting agenda, details of any related announcements, and links to background information. The page will be updated whenever new or amended details and information become available.

What is the UNHCR 2011 Ministerial Meeting?

The Ministerial Meeting is the political and diplomatic centrepiece of a year that has seen a series of full-blown international displacement crises, as well as a major push by UNHCR to combat statelessness - a problem affecting as many as 12 million people worldwide. This is only the second time in its history that UNHCR has convened a high-level Meeting of this sort.

The Meeting's main goal - at a time of international conflicts and economic strain - is to bring about strengthened support for the bedrock principles by which the international community has for more than half a century dealt with refugees, other displaced, and stateless people. 2011 has seen the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. With the latter in particular, UNHCR has been urging UN member states to increase accessions.

The Meeting is expected to generate two main outcomes: action-oriented commitments by states to address particular displacement and statelessness issues, in the form of pledges, and a forward-looking Ministerial Communiqué to be adopted by all participating states.

Those attending the Meeting are expected to include ministers of foreign affairs, refugee affairs or immigration, and will also include at least one head of state.

UNHCR 2011 Ministerial Meeting - Treaty Event

A highlight of the Meeting is expected to be a Treaty Event at which states that have acceded to the refugee or statelessness conventions during 2011 will be acknowledged and congratulated, and those that wish to do so will be able to deposit their instruments of accession in the presence of High Commissioner Guterres and the UN Office of Legal Affairs. Currently, this is scheduled for 6pm on 7th December.


The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is both the title of the head of the organization, António Guterres, and the formal name of the UN refugee agency itself. Founded in 1950, the organization's original caseload was 2.1 million Europeans, uprooted by World War Two. Today, UNHCR's work extends to more than 120 countries and encompasses people forced to flee across borders, stateless people, as well as those in flight within their own countries.

UNHCR is supported entirely by voluntary donations from UN member states, from the private sector, and from members of the public. UNHCR has in recent years undergone a programme of reforms geared towards improved efficiencies, resulting in saved costs, and increased focus on its field operations. In 2010, UNHCR achieved a record US$1.86 billion in contributions. This amount is expected to be exceeded in 2011.

Press Facilities & Accreditation

Journalists interested in covering this event will need to organize accreditation for themselves via the United Nations Information Service at Geneva. As the accreditation process can take some time, we recommend that interested journalists apply for accreditation as a matter of urgency, and certainly well before the end of November.

Media will have access to the opening and closing speeches of the Meeting, plus to associated press briefings/conferences. Depending on numbers of journalists attending, a dedicated press facility will be made available at the Palais des Nations. Details will be posted on this webpage.

Fact sheets, Press Releases, Related Information

UNHCR can be found online in most of the 120 countries in which we work. Our international sites include:


UNHCR News and Views

Information about UNHCR's activities, including regular news conferences, daily news stories, press releases, photo galleries and video material.

Commemorating the Refugee and Statelessness Conventions

UNHCR in 2011 celebrates the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 50th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.