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Annual session of UNHCR's governing body starts next week

Briefing notes

Annual session of UNHCR's governing body starts next week

30 September 2011

The 62nd annual session of UNHCR's governing body, the Executive Committee, begins this coming Monday, October 3rd, in the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Executive Committee, comprising 85 states this year, reviews global and regional refugee protection issues and endorses UNHCR's annual programmes and budgets.

This year's session of the Executive Committee will also observe two important anniversaries for the UN refugee agency - 60 years of the 1951 Refugee Convention which is the cornerstone of UNHCR's mandate and work, and 50 years of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

The Chairman of the Executive Committee, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN Hisham Badr, will open the five-day meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday. High Commissioner António Guterres will also address the meeting on Monday morning. A press release covering his opening remarks will be issued on Monday morning and his speech will be available on the UNHCR website. Both addresses are open to accredited Palais-based media.

Monday will conclude with the Nansen Refugee Award ceremony, which this year goes to a Yemeni NGO, the Society for Humanitarian Solidarity (SHS). The award is for their life saving assistance to thousands of refugees and migrants who arrive on the shores of Yemen every year after crossing the Gulf of Aden by boat. This year again the ceremony will be held at the Batiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva, thanks to the support of the Geneva, Swiss and Norwegian authorities. Press arrangements for this ceremony, including pooling and accreditation processes, are detailed in a separate media advisory.

With the exception of the Executive Committee opening session, which takes place in the Assembly Hall, all subsequent sessions from Tuesday to Friday will be held in Room XIX.

Our annual report on international refugee protection - a global review of refugee and asylum challenges and achievements - will be presented on Wednesday afternoon by Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Erika Feller. A separate press release will be issued on her report.

UNHCR's biannual budget for 2012/2013 will be presented on Thursday (US$ 3.59 billion for 2012 programmes and US$ 3.42 billion for 2013).

Throughout next week's meeting of the Executive Committee, a number of side events looking into specific issues and operations will be held in room XXIII. The detailed programme is in the Executive Committee schedule.

At the end of the Executive Committee annual meeting, the High Commissioner is scheduled to give his traditional press conference in the Press Room III at 12.30 p.m. on Friday, 7 October. We will advise any changes to this time.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Geneva: Melissa Fleming on mobile +41 79 557 9122
  • Adrian Edwards on mobile +41 79 557 9120