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Closing Statement by Mrs. Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 10 November 1994

Speeches and statements

Closing Statement by Mrs. Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 10 November 1994

10 November 1994

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

I should like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for ably guiding the meeting, and all the participants for their valuable and supportive statements. The large number of speakers who have taken the floor on this item reflects the urgency and gravity of the refugee problem today.

I deeply appreciate the tribute which delegations have paid to me and my staff. Your words will be a great source of encouragement to us in our difficult task of providing protection and assistance to refugees and finding solutions to their plight. I am gratified to know you share my concern for the security of my staff and of our partners, and hope that you will continue to press for all measures to ensure their safety, including in the context of the discussions on the Draft Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel.

I have been encouraged by your support for our comprehensive strategy of prevention, preparedness and solutions to address the enormous humanitarian challenges of today. It is clear that the success of such a strategy depends, to a large extent, on action taken in the wider context of peace, development and promotion of human rights. At the same time, we must preserve our humanitarian space; we must collaborate with others, but not compromise our principles.

Delegations have also rightly recognized the importance of the need to protect and assist those who are uprooted, during displacement or exile and on return, until they are reintegrated in their own or a new community. The issue of the internally displaced will also, I am convinced, demand greater attention of the international community, and call for closer cooperation between humanitarian and human rights actors.

Not surprisingly, there has been a strong emphasis in my report and in your responses on the continued importance of building partnerships with inter-governmental as well as non-governmental organizations. Since many of the delegations have commended us on our PARinAC initiative with NGOs, let me inform you that I have taken a number of measures to strengthen UNHCR's capacity at Headquarters and in the various regions to follow up on the recommendations of the PARinAC Conference. For me the Conference in Oslo was not the end of a process but the beginning of a new phase. Implementation of the recommendations will require much effort and resources, on the side of UNHCR as well as NGOs, but again I wish to assure you of my personal commitment to this endeavour.

The ultimate test of effective cooperation and coordination lies in the speed and quality of the response in the field. Coordination cannot replace capacity. Thus, let me reiterate my goal of further improving our capacity to respond to emergencies, as well as our ability to plan and implement our programmes, particularly for the benefit of refugee women and children.

Allow me to reiterate my appreciation for your strong support for the activities of my Office. As we go on with our work in the service of refugees around the world, it is very reassuring for me to know that we enjoy the confidence of this universal forum. Once again, thank you.