High Commissioner addresses the Standing Committee
High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers urged governments attending a meeting of UNHCR's Standing Committee this morning to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to enable UNHCR to fulfil its mandate. Mr. Lubbers told the meeting that governments and UNHCR must work together to avoid a repeat of last year's situation in which donor governments approved a budget but then failed to fully fund it. He called for closer consultations between governments and UNHCR in developing annual budgets, a process that should begin much earlier in the year than it does at present. This would help ensure a more predictable level of funding.
Mr. Lubbers' call for a more predictable funding system comes amid major budgetary and post cuts at UNHCR resulting in reductions of some $125 million in the 2002 budget. The budget is now expected to total $828 million. The agency is reducing its workforce by about 16 percent. Mr. Lubbers concluded his remarks with a call to all donors to give unequivocal financial support to UNHCR; to major donors to continue their strong support; to others to increase their support commensurate with their wealth and moral obligation; and to all donors to announce and provide their contributions in a timely manner to allow for sound planning and implementation of UNHCR programmes. The Standing Committee meets annually for a mid-year progress review of UNHCR activities.