The Executive Committee's origins and mandate
The United Nations's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) established the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1958 [Resolution 672 (XXV)], and the governing body formally came into existence on 1 January 1959.
A United Nations General Assembly resolution [1166 (XII)] had requested that ECOSOC establish an Executive Committee (ExCom) consisting of representatives from UN Member States or members of any of the specialized agencies. It specified that these representatives should “be elected by the Council on the widest possible geographical basis from those States with a demonstrated interest in, and devotion to, the solution of the refugee problem.”
Although established by ECOSOC, ExCom functions as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and its documentation is issued in a General Assembly series. ExCom's report is submitted directly to the General Assembly for consideration in the Third Committee.
UNHCR's Statute [Article 3] directs that the High Commissioner "shall follow policy directives given him by the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council." ExCom does not substitute for the policy-making functions of the General Assembly or ECOSOC but has its own executive and advisory functions.
- to advise the High Commissioner in the exercise of his/her functions
- to review funds and programmes
- to authorize the High Commissioner to make appeals for funds
- to approve proposed annual budget targets
The Executive Committee holds one annual session. This usually takes place in Geneva during the first half of October and lasts one week. ExCom's Rules of Procedure are contained in document A/AC/96/187/Rev.8.