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Address by Mr. Poul Hartling, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 6 March 1981

Speeches and statements

Address by Mr. Poul Hartling, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 6 March 1981

6 March 1981

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. It gives me great pleasure to address you today on the subject of the refugee problems in developing countries. I am privileged to be here, and honoured by the interest and attention you have all manifested in the crucial question of refugees. I greatly value the cooperation that so productively exists between UNHCR and governmental agencies. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is in my view one of the foremost such bodies in the undustrialized world.

2. Refugees, the products of conflict and persecution, have been an almost constant feature of human history. It is hard to think of any nation on this earth that does not have some refugee experience, some experience of exile or of receiving refugees to recount. Today, as so often in the past, people are fleeing various countries on all continents.

3. Though the refugee burden is a universal one, a great deal of it has fallen of late on developing countries. In fact, some of the worst affected are among the world's poorest nations. The two single largest refugee situations in the world today are in developing countries - Pakistan and Somalia. The effect the refugee burden has on the process of social and economic development is of concern both to UNHCR and to the international community.

4. Before looking into the problem of refugees in developing countries in greater detail, I propose to tell you a little more about UNHCR itself, about our background, evolution and mandate, and to review in summary the current refugee situation in the world. At the risk of saying things that some of you may know, I would like to examine the past in order to better define where we stand at present. I would also ask you to bear in mind the context in which the refugee problem should be seen: it is a problem created in disruption and resolved in rehabilitation and development. Refugees flee because of violations of their human rights, violations accompanying war, civil strife and individual or group persecution. In turn, taking care of refugees means, to a great extent, restoring to them some of the basic human rights of which they have been deprived, namely the right to shelter, to work, to education, to freedom of conviction, to legal protection. While refugees are created by persecution, disruption and armed conflict, humanitarian assistance provided to refugees helps greatly towards stability and peaceful development in the affected countries.

5. Modern refugee work on a major scale goes back essentially to the aftermath of the situation in Europe at the end of the Second World War, when the continent was full of refugees. The essential nature of the refugee condition has not changed. Today, as then, refugees need to be fed, clothed and sheltered; they need to find new homes; they need to be assisted to integrate into the social and economic life of the country that offers them permanent asylum. Fundamental human needs and human experiences in the face of exile have not changed.

6. There has, however, been an enormous evolution since the Second World War. At the end of that conflict, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) undertook the material care of the refugees and displaced persons who found themselves stranded in Europe. The task was later entrusted to the International Refugee Organization (IRO) which was established by the United Nations in 1946 as a temporary agency responsible for the millions of refugees and displaced persons. As the need for assistance persisted, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established in 1951 by a resolution of the General Assembly. UNHCR was mandated with the duty of providing international protection and of seeking permanent solutions for their plight. At that time, the refugee problem was a European one. Those who set up the Office confidently expected that it would go out of business after its initial mandate of three years which was considered to be enough to clear the camps in Europe.

7. The Office was not at first endowed with any significant financial means. It started with a limited staff of well under one hundred at its Geneva Headquarters and in nine countries in Europe. At that time, there was a small, largely administrative budget of about $ 250,000. Last year UNHCR needed to spend $ 500 million to meet basic refugee needs; a similar level of financial need is, unfortunately, expected in 1981. The initial handful of staff members have now grown to more than 1,700 not just in Europe, but in some 90 offices across the world, covering more than 130 countries. This of course, indicates how quickly new refugee problems arose to replace and surpass those associated with the Second World War. When its original three-year mandate expired in 1954, the Office was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, not simply in recognition of what had been achieved, but as a token of worldwide support for the tasks yet to be performed. The mandate was renewed, this time for five years, and it has had to be renewed five times since.

8. The number and needs of refugees have increased considerably imposing a proportionate expansion on UNHCR itself. In addition, the United Nations General Assembly, in response to events and in recognition of the expertise acquired by UNHCR, has progressively assigned tasks to UNHCR beyond those envisaged in its original statute. UNHCR has been called upon not only to coordinate large-scale voluntary repatriations in accordance with its original mandate, but also in some cases to establish programmes for the initial rehabilitation of the returnees in their country of origin. The massive operations in South-East Asia, the large-scale relief programmes in Pakistan, Somalia and Thailand have demanded a more direct operational involvement by the Office. The scale and complexity of such operations has also called for increased cooperation with organisations within the United Nations system, as well as with governmental and non-governmental agencies.

9. A refugee, as the term is legally defined, is someone who, and I quote the Statute of my Office, "owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or ... unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country". To the reasons cited in the Statute, the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees added "membership of a particular social group" as a factor which may cause fear of persecution. These, indeed, constitute the reasons why people are persecuted and why they are forced to flee their homes.

10. Under the Mandate conferred upon me by the General Assembly, I have two duties: to provide international protection to refugees and to seek permanent or durable solutions for their problems. The Statute outlines durable solutions as "the voluntary repatriation of such refugees, or their assimilation within new national communities". The new national communities into which refugees are integrated may be those of countries of first asylum, or of countries of permanent resettlement. Before durable solutions can be found, emergency care and maintenance is obviously required simply to ensure the survival of refugees.

11. At this stage I would wish to add a few words on the protection challenge facing my Office, even though I recognize that this is not of direct concern to this meeting. A good deal is said and written about human rights. The most important human right we at UNHCR are concerned with is that of asylum, and from our point of view, the most serious violation of a refugee's basic rights is "refoulement", that is his being sent back against his will to his country of origin. Our Office constantly endeavours to prevent such actions, which can result in imprisonment or even death. We also strive to assure the rights of refugees in their countries of asylum so that they enjoy the same privileges and responsibilities as citizens. The ultimate aim of UNHCR is to ensure that they cease to be refugees and become productive citizens of their new country.

12. Fundamental as protection is to the work of UNHCR, the bulk of UNHCR's funds are, of course, spent on refugee assistance. When the refugees arrive, they frequently require the means to survive, notably food, shelter and medicine. While a large proportion of UNHCR assistance must consist of relief, we are a solution-oriented organisation and our goal, as I have already said, is to find durable solutions to the refugees' condition. Both relief and durable solutions require considerable financial outlays, and since 1978 the financial requirements of UNHCR to meet identified refugee needs have increased by almost four hundred percent.

13. UNHCR depends almost entirely on voluntary contributions to be able to carry out its programmes of assistance to refugees and displaced persons. Year by year, programme by programme, the High Commissioner must rely on the generosity of the international community, both governmental and non-governmental.

14. I would wish to pay tribute to the voluntary agencies across the world which have offered so much in terms of resources and human effort to alleviate the plight of refugees. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that the bulk of our activities are taking place in the Third World. Though their resources are severely strained by the arrival of newcomers, these countries almost invariably treat refugees with great generosity. In Africa, for instance, host governments often contribute vast tracts of land, provide administrative personnel and meet such of the refugees' needs as they possibly can. International assistance, however, must supplement local efforts.

15. I am not here, however, to ask for funds but to consider our problems in a development context. These problems are compounded by the fact that newcomers such as refugees inevitably compete with nations for resources which are already inadequate. In some instances, refugee influxes leave the authorities little scope to attend to the pressing tasks of the development of their own country. Resources and manpower which could have been devoted to national development are diverted to the urgent responsibility of keeping the refugees alive and alleviating their suffering. In countries like Somalia and Sudan for example, I have seen how much is being done for refugees by people who are not much better off themselves. I believe the world owes it to such developing countries to share their burden and assist them to maintain their tradition of help to refugees.

16. Another dimension to burden-sharing comes in the form of refugee resettlement in third countries when countries of first asylum offer only temporary or transit asylum to refugees. When the countries of South East Asia provided only temporary asylum to refugees other nations offered resettlement places and the prospect of new lives for the refugees. In total 260,000 refugees from Indochina were resettled in 1980. The fact that nations often thousands of miles removed from major refugee situations open their doors in welcome to the uprooted demonstrates, I believe a magnificent resolution to tackle refugee problems on an international basis.

17. I should now, with a brief tour d'horizon, like to outline the major refugee situations in developing countries today.

18. Let us first turn to Africa: nearly two million refugees threaten, by the sheer weight of numbers, to paralyse the developing economies of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Sudan. In Somalia, the authorities report that the number of refugees continues to increase, and has reached over 1,300,000 in camps. Refugees receive assistance in terms of shelter and domestic needs. Food deliveries to camps have improved steadily and the fuel problem, which threatened to halt supply in October 1980, has so far been overcome through emergency procurement and medium-term measures. Curative and preventative health programmes are being expanded. Management and logistic systems have been established. In spite of such marked progress, much remains to be done. The recent drought has caused setbacks to our operations and malnutrition is still prevalent, particularly among children. In 1980 alone UNHCR has, in cooperation with the World Food Programme, spent $ 120 million on refugee relief in Somalia. In the face of such pressing and enormous relief needs, and a situation still in flux, only rudimentary self-reliance projects could be developed. Somalia's topography and natural resources are already strained to breaking point by the massive refugee presence. Equally, there are certain political constraints on the idea of pursuing full local integration of the refugees. Nevertheless in 1981, with the agreement of the Government, UNHCR while attempting to meet the immediate needs of those refugees who continue to arrive day by day, will pursue self-sufficiency projects for refugees in the areas of agriculture and livestock development. Such projects, if successful, will enable some of the refugees to become more productive and the infrastructure, basic though it may be, which is established will also benefit Somali nationals in those as yet undeveloped areas of the country.

19. At the beginning of this year, the number of refugees in Djibouti was estimated at 42,000 persons, or over thirteen percent of the population. Intensified assistance efforts have been directed towards the provision of food items, domestic supplies, clothing-material and blankets. Vehicles were procured for the transport of relief supplies. Storage facilities are being constructed. UNHCR was also able to arrange for two expatriate medical teams to go to Djibouti while high-protein food was provided for those refugees in a critical state of health. Djibouti remains primarily a holding operation, though the success of a small-scale market-garden project has raised some hopes for at least a limited degree of self-sufficiency for some refugees. Djibouti has absolutely minimal natural resources and therefore UNHCR's attempts to create productive though limited agricultural activity and to provide relevant vocational training for refugees to help them become more able to obtain employment are viewed with great interest by the Government.

20. In the Sudan, where the Government estimates the number of refugees at some 500,000, the major emphasis is being laid on rural settlement projects leading to complete integration. There are over 82,000 refugees permanently settled in Sudan today and the number will reach 120,000 by the end of this year. As the refugees reach self-sufficiency the need for international assistance through UNHCR is phased out, while the refugees are becoming an important manpower element in the national and regional development schemes. Furthermore, the basic infrastructure and services such as schools, clinics, agricultural extension schemes and roads which, in context with the settlement programmes, have been brought to the various areas, have already produced a development spin-off for the local Sudanese in the regions concerned. Sudan is also coping with enormous pressure on available services in urban areas and two emergency situations have recently developed, demanding a rapid response in terms of immediate relief. During recent months, over 40,000 Ugandans entered the southern part of the Sudan. The initial relief programme is being followed by the preparation of ten new rural settlements to integrate the whole group as soon as feasible. Furthermore, in late December 1980, 8,000 refugees from Chad arrived in western Sudan and emergency relief, mainly consisting of food, shelter and blankets, is being provided. A plan to integrate the group is being worked out.

21. I have just returned last week from Djibouti and Sudan, and have been struck by how much is being done by both countries, despite their own major problems. The Government in Khartoum is particularly devoted to the principle of ensuring the viable integration of refugees in the Sudan, but it needs international assistance to establish the various settlements it has planned. UNHCR spent almost sixteen million dollars in the Sudan in the last two years and our 1981 plans call for expenditure of almost twenty-five million dollars. These figures do not include development-related infrastructure requirements linked to refugee projects which were submitted by the Sudanese Government to the international community in Khartoum last year. They will again be discussed at the forthcoming Geneva Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa next month.

22. Several other major refugee situations have recently developed across Africa which are still largely being handled as emergencies but which call for the implementation of a durable solution in the intermediate term. In Zaire, the refugee caseload increased substantially with the arrival in October 1980 of over 100,000 refugees from the West Nile Province of Uganda. UNHCR began emergency assistance immediately and though a considerable number of the refugees have returned home, we are beginning programmes for the rural settlement of those remaining in Zaire. Meanwhile, assistance has continued to some 100,000 Chadian refugees in Cameroon. Long-term plans will be influenced by developments within Chad, which may either permit the refugees' voluntary repatriation, or necessitate the implementation of durable solutions in Cameroon.

23. In southern Africa, while refugees continue to flee the apartheid regime of the Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe has welcomed back 200,000 of its citizens who were formerly in exile. The repatriation of Zimbabwean refugees coordinated by UNHCR is now complete, except for a few individuals such as students, who will only return home upon finishing their study cycle. Following Independence and at the request of the Government, UNHCR coordinated a programme of aid, both bilateral and multilateral, for the immediate rehabilitation needs of some 660,000 returning refugees or displaced persons within Zimbabwe. The needs other than food, were estimated at over US$ 110 million and I am happy to say that by careful coordination, with UNHCR acting as the intermediary between the Government of Zimbabwe and donors, that target has been fully met. Excellent progress has been made on the resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees and displaced persons within Zimbabwe. The UNHCR-coordinated programme has placed great emphasis on agriculture. Seeds, fertilizer and agricultural implements have been distributed and an agricultural training programme introduced. Most farmers have by now planted their crops and a good harvest is expected next April. A feeding programme is taking care of the people's needs until then. A start has also been made on a national rehabilitation scheme for the war disabled, with a view to integrating them in the society and enabling them to return to gainful employment. In April this year, when activities on behalf of the returnees will be incorporated in wider development and reconstruction activities undertaken by the Zimbabwe authorities in cooperation with the United Nations system as a whole, UNHCR will phase out this special operation.

24. In Asia, UNHCR's two main areas of concern have continued to be the situation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and of Indochinese in South East Asia. The Pakistani authorities reported a total number of over 1.5 million refugees last month, making this one of the two largest refugee situations in the world at present. Efforts are being made to accommodate all refugees in organised tented villages. The Government of Pakistan has ruled out local integration programmes for the entire caseload; however, self-help projects are being formulated, to the maximum extent feasible. Meanwhile, more than US$ 100 million have been spent on relief. Most of you here today represent governments which participate in the Aid to Pakistan Consortium. In planning its programme in Pakistan, UNHCR has taken every care to ensure with the Government of Pakistan that no duplication should occur between UNHCR's programme and the proposals Pakistan submits to the Consortium. The Government and people of Pakistan have accepted an enormous burden and are contributing a more than considerable amount from their own scarce resources to help the Afghan refugees. To permit continuation of that generous attitude, assistance must continue through both the Consortium and UNHCR since the two channels of help are complementary.

25. In Thailand, there were approximately 260,000 refugees at the end of last year. Some 120,000 of them were Vietnamese, Laotians and so-called "old" Kampucheans. The rest were "new" Kampucheans who arrived in Thailand in a large-scale influx in late 1979.

26. As I speak to you, the tragic drama of the boat people also continues. Nearly 55,000 boat refugees from Indochina are stranded in camps and transit centres stretching from Singapore to the Philippines. However, not all the news is bad. Since the beginning of the exodus, well over half a million refugees have been resettled from the South East Asian area, mainly to the industrialised countries represented here today.

27. In Latin America too, my Office has faced numerous refugee problems. Many of you may recall that, for example, following the events in Chile in 1973, tens of thousands of refugees had to be protected and helped by UNHCR. I am happy to say that virtually all of those who needed resettlement have obtained it. This was a particularly demanding task, since group solutions could not be found and the caseload had to be handled on an individual family basis. More recently, the large numbers of Nicaraguans who fled their country's civil strife were repatriated and reintegrated through a large-scale UNHCR programme. At present, UNHCR's largest problem in the region is that of the Salvadorians who have sought refuge in several countries in the region. My Office is providing care and maintenance for the refugees in Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and other countries; plans are being elaborated to settle sizeable groups in those countries which have agreed to their durable integration.

28. This tour d'horizon, of recent developments in the refugee world highlights once again the truism that no region has a monopoly on human suffering. At the same time it points to the considerable burden being borne by nations listed, in many cases amongst the poorest in the world. The refugees' presence has placed major strains on developing economies and, in some cases, diverted already scarce resources from the urgent needs of nationals.

29. In this context, long-term refugee integration and rehabilitation projects must be linked to the development of the region of settlement. They would thus benefit the host countries as well as the refugees. This need is strongly felt, particularly in Africa, where host Governments wish to receive assistance not only for direct refugee projects but also towards providing the related services and infrastructure. African governments respond generously to the additional strains imposed by large-scale refugee presence but they are anxious that this policy and practice should not jeopardize their own national development. The decision of African governments to call for an International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa, which is to be held in Geneva on 9 and 10 April, is an expression of the African governments' will to ensure that the international community should be made aware of the dramatic situation and should show in concrete terms its appreciation of the problem faced by African governments and its own readiness to help.

30. Before going any further, let me stress that I am not proposing that UNHCR become a development agency; I speak of development only in relation to refugee integration. In our search for durable solutions, our objective is to help the refugees to reach a level of self-sufficiency comparable to that of the local population, after which UNHCR input is phased out. The projects which will be submitted to the international community for financing at the Africa Refugee Conference next month afford a variety of examples of socio-economic activity where a line delimiting UNHCR's competence and responsibility must by drawn. Whereas it is my duty to ensure that refugees cease to be materially dependent on outside help, certain types of development and infrastructure projects aimed, for example, at upgrading whole regions may well be financed and implemented by agencies other than UNHCR though in coordination with us insofar as refugee settlement areas are involved.

31. I have already spoken to you about the three durable solutions UNHCR seeks to implement: voluntary repatriation, resettlement and local integration. It is the last that I think concerns us most at this meeting, and it is the one to which we might now direct our attention. Local integration may consist of any measure leading to the refugees, social and economic self-sufficiency. In practice, however, in developing countries, it largely centres on the creation and viable establishment of rural settlements. The populations of developing countries reside overwhelmingly in rural areas and, consequently, refugees from these countries are predominantly of rural origin. UNHCR may integrate them either by creating specific well-defined refugee settlements or by making limited investments in the infrastructure of a given area.

32. Where specific refugee settlements need not or cannot be created, and refugees live dispersed among the local population of a region, UNHCR alleviates the burden resulting from their presence by improving existing facilities such as health and education and by assisting the refugees to contribute to the productivity of the affected area. UNHCR would, in addition provide limited direct assistance to refugees by distributing, for instance, agricultural hand tools and seeds to help the refugees become productive as soon as possible.

33. In those instances where a government may allocate a specific area of land for refugee settlement, usually in an underpopulated, outlying area with little or no infrastructure, UNHCR finances the establishment of - complete settlements. The measures financed by UNHCR may consist of feasibility studies, the clearing and parcelling of land, laying of feeder roads, construction of irrigation networks, introduction of extension services in agriculture or animal husbandry, provision of tractors for ploughing, housing, basic food, distribution of agricultural hand tools, seeds and fertilizers, introduction of basic health, education and community services. Such settlements have, for example, been established in Tanzania, where most former refugees no longer receive UNHCR assistance, fully participate in the local economy and have contributed to the development of the western part of the country. Moreover, the Government of Tanzania has recently naturalised some 30,000 refugees, thereby completing the process of their integration.

34. Speaking of local integration in developing countries, I should like to point out that our focus need not be limited to rural integration, or in rural regions, to agriculture. For instance, the employment of refugees in cottage industries can also enhance their integration in rural areas. There are also large numbers of refugees in urban areas in developing countries for whom, through social counselling, skill training and job placement, we try to find solutions. But we have not been as successful as we would have wished in devising and implementing urban integration projects. Many of you here today indeed represent countries which finance significant urban projects in developing countries - for example the development of small industries - into which refugees could conceivably be integrated. I would very much welcome your suggestions on the feasibility of such schemes and on possible areas of cooperation between us in this field.

35. We must demonstrate to recipient countries that the integration of refugees in productive activities will be an asset to the country as a whole. The settlements in Tanzania, which have produced some of the most productive farmers in the country, are only one example; the children of boat people in Australia are breaking academic records at school. There is a poster issued by my Office which declares: "A bundle of belongings isn't the only thing a refugee brings to his new country. Einstein was a refugee." In time the unwanted refugee of one nation can enrich the agriculture, industry, science, general economic output, culture and literature of another.

36. Durable solutions are often so closely linked to the social and economic activities of host countries that they should be of direct concern to bilateral aid agencies. Refugee rural settlements are a case in point; they are models of integrated rural development at work. In many cases the settlements created by UNHCR for refugees bring with them a certain infrastructure or a new service system which, while fundamentally necessary to the limited purposes of UNHCR, also provides a kind of beginning or pre-investment for the development of the region as a whole. The schools, clinics and other services provided in the settlements benefit local nationals also and create something of a stimulus to general development of the area concerned, bridging the time when bilateral aid will continue the efforts of the international community. Additional contributions to the durable solution components of my programmes from bilateral development budgets would, of course, be welcome. First of all I would like to discuss with you the possibility of OECD members considering a complementary role in the devising, planning and implementation of durable solutions. I need hardly point out that when integration solutions are successful, they more than offset the considerable expenditure which would otherwise be needed for unproductive and open-ended relief for refugees and displaced persons. The European Economic Community, for instance, has very generously contributed some $ 84 million last year towards the relief components of our programme; indeed the EEC is our second largest donor. While such assistance is, of course, essential, an increased emphasis on durable solutions by the EEC Commission would fill a needed gap in the EEC's humanitarian assistance efforts. The same could well apply to other donors who are represented here today.

37. Where countries of temporary refuge have so far not permitted durable integration, your governments, as active partners in the development programmes of the countries concerned, could play a most valuable role in supporting the efforts of my Office to persuade such countries to allow refugees to remain and become productive citizens. When economic schemes linked to the development of the host country are negotiated, refugee integration projects could be included in the overall development package.

38. In developing countries which permit the permanent integration of refugees, UNHCR would welcome the cooperation of OECD members in complementary activities financed and implemented through agreements, between the bilateral donors and recipient governments. For instance, where rural settlements are to be established, UNHCR could concentrate on promoting agriculture, establishing schools and dispensaries and so on, while bilateral donors could assume the responsibility of building access roads and developing local markets. In UNHCR this has come to be known as the "multi-bi" approach - the coordination of the multilateral assistance provided by UNHCR with the bilateral assistance undertaken by bilateral donors, towards the same goal. The Zimbabwe operation to which I referred earlier gives a good example of the success that can be achieved.

39. Some countries, while accepting refugees for integration, are reluctant to allocate refugee projects any priority in their national development plans. Clearly, the determination of priorities is influenced more by the needs of nationals than by those of refugees. There is also likely to be some resistance to the idea of foreign development aid being diverted to benefit refugees. Bilateral agencies, while negotiating assistance, could seek to ensure that areas in which refugees are located are included in the national development schemes of the host countries.

40. Bilateral involvement should have yet another essential element, namely that once the refugees reach the living standards of the local population and UNHCR assistance is phased out, any further development becomes the responsibility of local authorities, possibly in collaboration with development agencies. Where refugee integration projects are dovetailed into the country's national development plans, bilateral aid projects can help ensure that refugees keep pace with the country's development and that they do not fall back into dependence when UNHCR aid is withdrawn on completion of our limited development activities.

41. Although I do not wish to minimise the difficulties involved in arriving at durable solutions, particularly in the poorest countries, I should like to stress again that refugee problems can be tackled; indeed they can be solved. Yesterday's refugees are not today's refugees and, if we persist, today's refugees will not be refugees tomorrow. Many of yesterday's exiles are today's free citizens and leaders. I recall an experience in Zimbabwe last year when I shook hands with a Minister who said, "The last time we met was in a refugee camp." Assisting refugees means contributing to the creation of new structures of peace, an achievement that must remain one of the primary objectives of the international community.

42. From the documentation you have before you and, I hope, from what I have just outlined, it is clear that, with the magnitude of refugee problems today, UNHCR's activities have of necessity assumed a more visible and widespread character than in the past. Our work towards integration of refugees often uses developmental tools although it is limited in nature and extent within the durable solution mandate of my Office. The refugee can and should be a positive factor in the development of his country of asylum. It is therefore, in my opinion, both appropriate and necessary that our work in this field be discussed with an organisation such as OECD since there are many areas where your interests and those of UNHCR coincide. Various suggestions for cooperation have been made both in this address and in the background document the DAC Secretariat circulated before this meeting. Let us try to clarify and refine those suggestions into practical and firm proposals for cooperation between the OECD and UNHCR so that, given the motives we share, refugees can be helped towards the durable solution they deserve in a way which is both positive and productive for the developing countries which have given the refugee the opportunity of integration and cost-effective from the point of view of the international donor community.

Thank you.