51st session of UNHCR's Executive Committee
The 51st session of UNHCR's Executive Committee, the organisation's advisory body, opens in Geneva on Monday. The session's theme UNHCR AT 50 - FROM RESPONSE TO SOLUTIONS is held nearly half a century after UNHCR's establishment in the aftermath of World War II. The session is also the last for the current High Commissioner Sadako Ogata who retires at the end of this year, after leading UNHCR during one of post World War II era's most turbulent decades.
Mrs Ogata is expected to address the session at around 11:25 a.m. on Monday. The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will also address the meeting shortly afterwards. The plenary session held at Salle XIX at Geneva's Palais des Nations is open to journalists accredited at the UN. In the afternoon, Mr Annan will meet with the UNHCR staff at the agency's Geneva headquarters.
The 57-nation Executive Committee, which meets once a year, approves UNHCR's overall budget and issues a number of conclusions which serve as the refugee agency's policy guidelines. This year's session, which is expected to end next Friday, will also take a longer-term look at UNHCR's future in the rapidly changing world. It is likely to address the issue of safety of humanitarian staff, pushed to the forefront of the international agenda following the murder of four UNHCR workers this month.