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Report of the 17 May 1994 Meeting of the Sub-Committee on Administrative and Financial Matters

Executive Committee Meetings

Report of the 17 May 1994 Meeting of the Sub-Committee on Administrative and Financial Matters

5 July 1994


1. The inter-sessional meeting of the Sub-Committee on Administrative and Financial Matters (Sub-Committee) on 17 May 1994 was opened by its Chairman, His Excellency Ambassador A. Kamal (Pakistan). He welcomed the delegates, and in particular the delegation of Spain which was attending the meeting for the first time as a member of the Executive Committee.


2. The Sub-Committee considered the Provisional Agenda (EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.9), which was adopted without comment.


3. The Deputy High Commissioner congratulated the delegation of Spain on their recent election as a member of the Executive Committee. He then gave a brief overview of the most important recent developments of concern to UNHCR and commented on some of the key issues which were under consideration by the Sub-Committee. He explained the circumstances that had led to the somewhat late arrival of the documentation. Although UNHCR remained committed to the timely dispatch of documents, it would need to consult further with delegations on the extent of documentation required for each meeting and the constraints involved in supplying the required documents.

4. He reported on the High Commissioner's recent mission to Japan and Viet Nam. In Japan, among other official engagements, she launched the Japanese version of the State of the World's Refugees. In Viet Nam she reviewed the voluntary repatriation programme.

5. At the time of speaking, the High Commissioner was in the United States. She met with President Clinton, key members of his Cabinet, senior US Government officials, legislators and NGO representatives. The High Commissioner welcomed President Clinton's announcement of 8 May on the subject of Haitian asylum-seekers. In an effort to promote a coordinated regional approach to this problem, the High Commissioner had announced the appointment of Mr. K. Asomani, the UNHCR Regional Representative in Costa Rica, as her Special Envoy for Haiti.

6. The Deputy High Commissioner reported on his visit to South Africa for the inauguration of His Excellency Mr. Nelson Mandela as President. He reminded delegates that UNHCR was the first and, for a time, the only United Nations agency with a presence in South Africa, as the Office was assisting in the voluntary return of South African refugees.

7. Since the beginning of April, the Office had become increasingly involved with the major refugee influxes of Rwandese into the United Republic of Tanzania, Burundi, Zaire and Uganda. He reported on UNHCR's response to these situations and thanked donor countries for their essential suppport in the crucial initial response to this emergency. In regard to other African countries, the situation in Liberia remained fragile and refugees were cautious about returning. Whilst the Office anticipated some spontaneous repatriation in the course of 1994, any plans for an organized, large-scale repatriation would have to be shelved. He said that a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Eritrea had been concluded in April, paving the way for the repatriation of Eritreans in the Sudan in the near future.

8. Some 7,000 Somali refugees in a camp in Yemen were caught in the cross-fire of the civil war; at least 175 of them had been killed. The Office was exploring the possibility of relocating refugees to safer ground and sending relief convoys from Aden.

9. In Bangladesh, the cyclone of 2 May had resulted in the deaths of 61 refugees. Tens of thousands of refugee shelters had been destroyed. Substantial damage also had occurred at reception facilities in Myanmar.

10. Tension was rising again in several parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. UNHCR remained hopeful that, on the basis of the 13 May communiqué of the meeting of Foreign Ministers in Geneva, negotiations for a comprehensive peace settlement would recommence.

11. With reference to the agenda of the Sub-Committee, the Deputy High Commissioner underlined the value of the budgetary contingency provisions that the Executive Committee had established several years ago. He said that the High Commissioner was confident that country programme adjustments that will be necessary in 1994 under General Programmes could be accommodated within the approved General Programmes target through adjustments between programmes and by recourse to the General Allocation for Voluntary Repatriation and the Programme Reserve. He went on to thank the donor community for the strong support already extended during the first part of the year, and appealed for further contributions to the 1994 General Programmes approved target to allow for the smooth programming of priority needs already approved.

12. Regarding the clearance of land-mines, he pointed out that the involvement of the Office was limited in that it focused on ensuring the success of UNHCR's operations, in particular voluntary repatriations.

13. The Deputy High Commissioner also referred to the increasingly difficult security situations confronting UNHCR staff and humanitarian personnel as a whole. He paid homage to Mr. Alhadji Sanneh, a UNHCR staff member, recently killed in Somalia.


14. The Ambassador of Spain thanked the Chairman and Mr. Walzer for their kind words, as well as all Governments which had actively supported Spain's application for membership to the Executive Committee. He spoke, inter alia, of Spain's particular interest in refugee matters and his Government's intention to take a more active role in this area; he also stressed Spain's interest in the interrelationship between migration and development.


15. The report of the 24 March meeting (EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.10) was adopted without comment.


16. This agenda item was introduced by the Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support, and by the Head of the Fund Raising Service. The Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support drew attention to document EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.16, which gave a comprehensive picture of programme needs for 1994. Total programme needs were estimated at over $ 1.2 billion; this represented a $ 29.7 million increase over the needs indicated on 1 March 1994.

17. He pointed out that the requirements under Special Programmes for former Yugoslavia now covered the entire year. The situation in Rwanda and Burundi was of particular concern, for which present budgetary requirements were estimated at $ 56.7 million, covering estimated assistance needs until July 1994. The requirements were immense, with UNHCR having established the largest refugee camp in the world. Special support would be required for UNHCR to be able to sustain the lives of Rwandan refugees who had already crossed the border. Three to four thousand persons continued to cross the border daily into the United Republic of Tanzania.

18. With reference to the UNHCR/NGO Partnership in Action (PARINAC) process, contributions amounting to $ 780,000 of the total estimated budget of $ 1.1 million had been received. On behalf of the High Commissioner, he expressed appreciation to the various Governments, in particular the Government of Norway as well as NGOs for their support to this important process.

19. The Head of the Fund Raising Service provided an update on contributions along with an outline of UNHCR funding priorities. By way of introduction he spoke of the importance of providing donors with a package of information, which would be updated as necessary, so as to allow for informed funding decisions to be taken. The package would contain basic programme, financial and operational details. To the extent possible, appeals and reports would be integrated into the Consolidated Appeals process, coordinated by DHA.

20. With reference to the funding situation, the Head of Fund Raising Service reported that as of 16 May 1994 contributions had reached a total of $ 370 million against all programmes; this amounted to approximately one-third of the $ 1.2 billion target.

21. In regard to General Programmes, the Office had recorded $ 240 million in contributions. Together with the carry-over from 1993 of $ 55 million, funding of the appproved target of $ 418 million was covered until mid-September. He stressed the importance for the full funding of General Programmes, as well as the need to have a carry-over into 1995.

22. The situation under Special Programmes was less straightforward. The Head of the Funding Raising Service described the funding situation for Rwanda and the programmes in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tajikistan in detail. He went on to talk of funding for a number of important repatriation programmes: from Kenya to Somalia; from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan to Afghanistan; from Mexico to Guatemala. All of these programmes required immediate funding. For the repatriation to Mozambique, contributions allowed operations to proceed only up to June 1994. In the case of the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees (CPA), the Office had received only $ 27 million out of the budgeted $ 78 million. For the former Yugoslavia, the annual budget was estimated at $ 338 million; out of this amount, the Office had received $ 117 million. All told, after taking into account unobligated funds carried over from 1993, funding requirements under all Special Programmes amounted to $ 618.6 million.

23. On behalf of the High Commissioner, Mr. Chipman thanked the various Governments for their contributions to UNHCR this year.

24. In relation to programme projections, several delegations questioned the proposed budgetary figures for a number of programmes, namely those for Afghanistan, Somalia and the Rwanda emergency. One delegation raised the question of the budgetary allocations for the Islamic Republic of Iran and Azerbaijan. In regard to Rwanda, one delegation addressed the influx into the United Republic of Tanzania and stressed the importance of providing for the needs of local communities who shared everything they had with the refugees. In addition, an environmental disaster had been caused by deforestation. The same delegation felt that UNHCR should initiate in-depth studies aimed at improving emergency response systems, the current Rwanda emergency had highlighted inadequacies in the present system. At a later stage in the meeting, another delegation referred to the Rwanda problem as daunting and frustrating. Because of the conflict in Rwanda, there was a need for adequate security in refugee camps. One delegation raised the question whether the project for the "Victims of Violence" in Kenya would in 1995 continue as a Special Programme or be included under General Programmes; in his opinion the very nature of the project dictated that it be included under General Programmes. Another delegation felt that the document on funding and projections should give more information on the evaluation of activities, with greater emphasis being placed on reporting on activities and the outcome of operations. A question was raised about the NGO response to invitations to the PARINAC global meeting to be held in Oslo, Norway from 6-9 June 1994. Several delegations posed questions or made observations regarding the follow-up to the findings of the Report on Programme Management and Operational Capacity. These touched on devolution of authority in relation to programme management to the Field; the Programme Management Handbook for Implementing Partners and the importance of clarifying the principles for the selection of implementing partners and the evaluation of their effectiveness.

25. The importance of broadening the donor base was stressed and a request was made for information on progress to widen the donor base. Although Consolidated Appeals had improved in recent years, one delegation felt that these should be more targeted and give a clear indication of priorities; they should be system-wide, with UNHCR's appeals as an integral part. It was also suggested that a table on funding patterns be included in future documentation, illustrating contributions to General Programmes and Special Programmes in recent years.

26. Several delegations expressed the opinion that meetings of the Sub-Committee on Administrative and Financial Matters and those of the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection (SCIP) should be held "back-to-back". One delegation felt that future meeting dates should be decided bearing in mind the schedule of meetings of other humanitarian agencies, thus avoiding any clashes.

27. A number of delegations either referred to the level of their contributions for 1994 and/or announced additional contributions. Denmark intended to make an additional contribution of Dkr 40 million ($ 6 million) as soon as parliamentary approval has been given. The delegate of the United States said his country would contribute an additional unearmarked contribution (indicating only the region to which the funds were to be applied) of $ 15 million towards the General Programmes; for the PARINAC process, a contribution of $200,000 would be forthcoming; in addition, $ 13.5 million had been contributed towards the Burundi/Rwanda crisis, $ 16.8 million for Mozambique repatriation, and $ 4.25 million for repatriation to Myanmar from Bangladesh. Norway announced Nkr 5 million towards the CPA, Nkr 7.76 million for the International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA), Nkr 3 million for Azerbaijan, and Nkr 2 million for the UNHCR component of the Consolidated Appeal for Tajikistan. Norway will also attempt to meet any outstanding needs for PARINAC. In addition to their annual contribution of Fmk 30 million, Finland would give Fmk 10 million for the Rwanda/Burundi emergency and repatriations to Mozambique and Somalia; these contributions would be over and above assistance for the former Yugoslavia. Sweden also foreshadowed an additional contribution of some $ 16 million to cover a range of emergency situations.

28. The Director of Programmes and Operational Support questioned the feasibility of holding future meetings of SCAF in May, given the pressures on the Office at that time owing to the programming and budgetary cycle. In addressing questions raised on the follow up to the Report of the Working Group on Programme Management and Operational Capacity, he said that Field Offices had been requested to supply comprehensive country operational plans and monthly situation reports indicating to what extent the objectives of the overall country strategy were being met; these served as a useful programme management tool, even for the Field Offices. The Handbook for Implementing Partners had not yet been finalized, but the Sub-Committee would continue to receive updates on progress. In turning to the question of implementing partners, the Director said that UNHCR had, through working contacts with NGOs by the various sections of the Office, a good grasp of the effectiveness of the various NGOs. As regards the "Victims of Violence" project, Mr. Morris said that once requirements for 1995 were confirmed, they would be included under General Programmes; moreover, any shortfall in funding in 1994 under Special Programmes would be made up from General Programmes.

29. The Head of the Fund Raising Service, in addressing the question of a possible carry-over at the end of 1994, pointed out that it was realistic to expect a carry-over even if the size of it was hard to predict at this stage; he felt that $ 55 million would be a minimum, if the Office was to assure a reasonable amount of liquidity in early 1995. On the question of fund raising strategies, he said that the priority of the Office was to convince some industrialized donor countries to be more generous. A public awareness campaign had been organized in the Persian Gulf in anticipation of fund raising missions in the coming months. As regards private sector funding, campaigns were underway in six European countries, five of which were returning a profit. It was anticipated, however, that a real impact on the private sector could only be made after several years. The Head of Fund Raising Service also expressed UNHCR's commitment to the Consolidated Appeals Process; he made reference to the recent Guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.


30. The Senior Coordinator of PARINAC reported briefly on progress to date. He said that, in the spirit of the triangular relationship promoted between Governments, NGOs and UNHCR, Executive Committee members would be invited to send observers to the plenary sessions to be held from 6 to 9 June in Oslo, Norway. Out of the six regional meetings, 120 proposals relating to the five agenda items of the PARINAC process had been formulated; these had been sent to all participants. These would constitute the basis for discussions in Oslo, with a view to formulating a draft plan of action for the UNHCR/NGO humanitarian agenda for the remainder of the 1990s. He said that 400 NGOs had been invited to the global meeting in Oslo and some 200-250 were expected to attend. UNHCR hoped to cover the attendance costs of some 60 NGOs from non-OECD countries; other bodies would be sponsoring the presence of indigenous NGOs. The Senior Coordinator of PARINAC suggested that a separate Executive Committee meeting be held on PARINAC. A preliminary report would be presented to the Informal Meeting of the Executive Committee on 23 June 1994. This would be followed by a regional assessment of the implications of implementing the PARINAC proposals, to be presented to the Sub-Committee at its September 1994 meeting. In addition, a full report on the whole process would be presented at the end of the year. He thanked those Governments who had made contributions; he indicated a potential increase to the existing budget to cover a range of additional, unforeseen administrative factors. Most importantly, he stressed that the implementation and follow-up actions were the key to the PARINAC process, and the Oslo meeting constituted the highpoint of the process rather than the end.

31. The Chairman summed up this agenda item by saying that proposals for future meeting dates would certainly be the subject of consultations. He recalled that the calendar of meetings for this year's SCAF had been determined in consultation with delegations at a 13 January 1994 planning meeting. He emphasized that timely distribution of documents was imperative to allow delegations to study them. He also raised the issue of the media's influence in determining emergency assistance priorities, both on the part of donors and for UNHCR. The Chairman closed this agenda point by reminding delegates that UNHCR still needed to raise $ 125.6 million in projected income to meet General Programmes requirements. As regards Special Programmes, there would be a shortfall of $ 118.6 million even if the currently projected income was received. He appealed to the continued generosity of donors to ensure that requirements were met.


32. Delegations agreed with Chairman's proposal that this agenda item be addressed first by an overview of the cluster of items under consideration, and then by a discussion of each sub-item. For the sake of clarity, the following presentation groups the interventions of delegates into general observations on the one hand and specific comments related to individual sub-items on the other.

33. The Director of Programmes and Operational Support introduced the four Conference Room Papers covering this agenda item: Update on Voluntary Repatriation Movements (EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.11); Activities in Countries of Origin: Reintegration and Durable Solutions to Refugee Problems (EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.12); Financial and Programmatic Implications of UNHCR Activities on Behalf of Internally Displaced (EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.13); and Land-Mines and Humanitarian Operations (EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.14).

34. The Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support said that document EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.11 gave not only the final picture for return movements in 1993 but also covered current and envisaged movements for 1994. He pointed out that the second paper (EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.12) was also related to voluntary repatriations in that it set out the current initiatives that UNHCR was taking to anchor these movements, and especially UNHCR's efforts to engage other operational development partners to assure a continuum from relief and reintegration to development. He drew particular attention to paragraphs 5 and 6 of the document which highlighted the need for further work within the United Nations system to find operational modalities to give expression to the concept of the continuum from relief to development. Mr. Morris also commented on UNHCR's recent efforts to create a Policy and Methodological Framework for Quick Impact Projects (QIPs). With respect to document EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.13, he said the purpose of the paper was to give an indication of the extent of UNHCR's activities in relation to the internally displaced; in this way, the resource implications of addressing this complex and massive problem could be taken into account in the following day's discussions in SCIP on the internally displaced (EC/1994/SCP/CRP.2 refers). In introducing the final paper under this agenda item, EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.14, he said that it examined the question of mine-clearance as it related to humanitarian operations, especially voluntary repatriation movements. The paper set out UNHCR's provisional involvement in such activities, while awaiting a more systematic and broadly based United Nations and international response to mine-clearance.

35. Delegates underlined the interlinkages among the various agenda sub-items. The need for comprehensive approaches in addressing the reintegration needs of returnees and the internally displaced, and of the needs of the local communities, was underlined by numerous delegations; only in this way could a continuum be assured from relief through to development.

36. One delegate also pointed to the interlinkage between the various documents and the document on internally displaced which would be considered by (EC/1994/SCP/CRP.2). Efforts to address these issues in a comprehensive manner, however, were often thwarted, inter alia, by the differences in institutional cultures of the various agencies, the varying response capacity of agencies and the differing degrees of budgetary flexibility that agencies possessed in the face of emergencies; all of these factors mitigated against a comprehensive response to emergencies.

37. The same delegate went on to say that there was a need for broader involvement by the United Nations system as a whole, to address the issues raised under the agenda item in a comprehensive manner and in particular, to raise the issues in a timely manner at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The ECOSOC agenda item on emergency issues would be an appropriate place to consider these topics. The delegate felt that if clear direction were given at its July 1994 session, solid proposals could possibly be worked out in time for ECOSOC in July 1995. This proposal was supported by a number of delegations.

38. Several delegations expressed the view that UNHCR should not seek to broaden the scope of its activities in countries of origin, especially in its involvement in fields where other agencies have a comparative advantage.

39. Given that Africa hosted the world's largest refugee caseload one delegate suggested that an international conference for African refugees, focusing particularly on Rwanda, be held along similar lines to those of the 1992 conference on former Yugoslavia. This could create a venue for meaningful dialogue on the role which the international community could play to minimize the results of civil strife and war. He stressed the importance of refugee involvement in the planning stages of a voluntary repatriation from the outset for the effective design and implementation of repatriation and reintegration programmes. The delegate urged the High Commissioner to give priority to refugee problems in Africa and increase its resources to match the gravity of the problem; greater use of resources would be assured by the employment of more local staff in UNHCR programmes. African countries, on their part, should promote conditions for durable solutions.

40. While a number of delegations complimented UNHCR on the quality of the documentation, several felt that they could be streamlined; those dealing with voluntary repatriation and the internally displaced, for example, would be clearer if tabular presentations were used.

41. The Chairman summed up the general debate by noting the large number of delegations in support of the proposal to bring the issues under discussion to the attention of ECOSOC. He also underlined the need for a global and comprehensive approach to the issues being considered under the agenda item.

42. In commenting on the interventions, the Director of Programmes and Operational Support said UNHCR's activities in countries of origin are vast, but it is a humanitarian responsibility imposed upon the Office rather than a case of UNHCR attempting to "spread its net" in this regard.

A. Voluntary repatriation

43. One delegate pointed out that over one third of projected UNHCR resources for 1994, largely funded under Special Programmes, would be devoted to voluntary repatriation activities. He felt that it might be necessary to revert to the issue as to whether such an important activity should remain, to such a large extent, primarily funded outside the General Programmes framework. He also noted that voluntary repatriation movements were often taking place under circumstances which had not changed significantly from those which had led to displacement originally. Whilst one delegation expressed appreciation to UNHCR for indicating priorities for voluntary repatriation movements, another spoke of the importance of spelling out these criteria for prioritization for Member States.

44. In response to the comments on prioritization, Mr. Morris said that there were three criteria for prioritization: (1) the situation in country of origin (stability/peace); (2) the stated desire of refugees to return; and (3) availability of funds from donors to implement programmes.

45. One delegation called for further elaboration on the inter-play between these three criteria, especially when one of the elements in the equation, for example, lack of funds, was missing. He said that affected Governments needed to take a strong stand, especially in regard to the availability of funds. He also made the observation that perhaps a long period of stay by refugees in a country of asylum, with their subsequent integration into the local community, would temper their desire to return to their country of origin. Another delegation also reverted to the question of more funding of such a core activity as voluntary repatriation under General Programmes; this needed further consideration.

46. Another delegation also raised the issue of UNHCR's experience of voluntary repatriations taking place within the broader context of United Nations peace-keeping operations; he asked for more information on UNHCR's experience in this regard.

47. In his comments on the issue of voluntary repatriation, the Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support said that the sustainability of UNHCR's limited activities in countries of origin was its main concern; in this context, he pointed to a change in UNHCR's approach from individual assistance to a more community based strategy. Funds were often lacking for voluntary repatriation programmes. Regrettably, the funding of many humanitarian activities was determined by factors other than the humanitarian needs themselves. UNHCR must, in this case, speak forthrightly and state clearly that there are genuine humanitarian needs that are not being met. Affected Governments must examine the political root causes. Some progress has been made in funding voluntary repatriation programmes, which was an important activity for UNHCR, but funding strategies should be studied further. He also expressed the opinion that the desire to return, on the part of refugees, was not necessarily a function of their length of stay in a country of asylum.

B. Reintegration and durable solutions to refugee problems

48. With regard to document EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.12, several delegations asked for more details on the Policy and Methodological Framework for QIPs. Another delegation said that the question of what happened after QIPs could only be resolved by having recourse to intergovernmental, non-governmental and community based development initiatives, but within a coherent framework. In this context, the involvement of the target population was essential. The fragmentation of resources had also to be avoided. One delegation asked about the extent of financial resources being dedicated to QIPs. Another delegation, speaking of the cross-mandate initiative as it related to his country, said that his government had taken a number of policy initiatives to complement UNHCR's reintegration efforts and to assure their linkage to development initiatives being undertaken by other agencies; inter-alia, he stressed the importance of building up local capacities. Another delegation noted that given the circumstances under which many voluntary repatriations are taking place, it would be difficult to secure the involvement of development partners. The same delegation said that document EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.12 indicated that UNHCR had not yet benefited from a United Nations system-wide comprehensive response in this area. Moreover a reference to General Assembly resolution 47/199 was missing from the document, which focused on country level coordination and the role of the resident coordinator. The delegate said that this resolution provided a good basis for UNHCR to advance at the country level on new programmatic approaches and innovative collaborative arrangements. Moreover, he stressed the need for increased commitment to cooperation by the United Nations agencies; in this context, specific efforts are required to improve mutual understanding and reduce cultural differences among agencies. He also underlined the need for Member States to be more consistent in their exercise of governance in the various governing bodies. Other delegations also stressed the critical importance of inter-agency cooperation and the importance in this context of the Consolidated Appeals sponsored by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA).

49. Two delegations spoke of their recent, UNHCR- organized mission to Malawi and Mozambique. They spoke of their concern about the size of some Quick Impact Projects (QIPs), as well as the lack of community involvement and commitment. While UNHCR should take the lead in initial reintegration assistance, development agencies should assume a larger responsibility. The question of sustainability of QIPs was raised by several delegations, especially with respect to larger projects.

50. The delegate of Switzerland congratulated UNHCR on its reintegration policy in Viet Nam and announced that his Government is considering a new contribution of SwF 1.2 million for QIPs in that country.

51. Commenting on the interventions, the Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support said that UNHCR's strategy was to assure the sustainability of its initial reintegration efforts. However, UNHCR's activities should be integrated with and reinforced by broader based development programmes. Regarding UNHCR's country of origin activities, and related cooperation with other agencies, the Office had raised the QIP programme approach and some practical suggestions for enhanced inter-agency cooperation in the field in both countries of origin and countries of asylum, with other agencies, most recently in the context of the Advisory Committee on Coordination (ACC) Sub-Committee on Rural Development. More in-depth discussions are foreseen with UNDP as well as with other agencies, such as UNICEF. Country-specific agreements with both UNDP and UNICEF in Mozambique for reintegration activities had been concluded. A Task Force on relations with UNDP had been set up and meetings were planned during the summer to refine the relationship between UNHCR and UNDP, specifically with regard to the continuum in countries of origin. On the question of the continuum from relief to development, the Director highlighted the inter-relationships between relief and development: it was often a breakdown in the development process, as a consequence of deep-rooted political causes, that led to humanitarian emergencies. The exact budgetary implications of QIPs had not been tracked as these were an emerging and evolving activity. He estimated that they would represent, at the most, between five and ten per cent of UNHCR's total budget.

C. The internally displaced

52. One delegate noted that UNHCR's activities on behalf of some 4 million internally displaced currently amounted to $ 200 million. While it was felt that UNHCR had been acting in compliance with the decisions of the General Assembly, especially resolution 46/182, and within the DHA framework, and in accordance with decisions and conclusions of the Executive Committee on internally displaced, there was a strong likelihood of UNHCR's increased involvement in this area; further guidance was therefore required from the Executive Committee on this subject. Another delegation voiced its concern that UNHCR was overstretching itself both from a manpower and budgetary angle, to the possible detriment of UNHCR's mandated refugee populations. One delegation asked for further information on the bases for UNHCR's involvement with the internally displaced.

53. Several delegations remarked that it was hard to differentiate in document EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.13 between activities on behalf of returnees and internally displaced. One delegation pointed out that the maintenance of the distinction was important as his country had different funding sources for the two categories.

54. The delegate of Croatia expressed his gratitude for the tireless and continuous support which UNHCR had given his country in alleviating the consequences of war and helping hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and refugees. He also requested that some editorial changes be made in the document.

55. One delegate asked for more details on UNHCR's involvement in Cyprus and its designated role in Georgia. Another delegate asked about the implications of the community-focused approach for individual protection. The negative effects of natural disasters and particularly drought were raised by one delegate who suggested that movements and displacements as a result of these factors, be included in the documentation.

56. The Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support noted the comment that some Governments may have funds available for the internally displaced under budgets other than those used for refugee funding; this should be investigated further by the Office. He said that UNHCR had been requested to become involved in certain activities on behalf of the internally displaced and had not sought involvement except where such activities were related directly to its mandate, for example in the context of voluntary repatriation movements; the Office's involvement was always based on a request from the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, or was part of a broader DHA-coordinated initiative. The Director went on to say that, although the philosophical issues of internally displaced persons would be dealt with at SCIP, the main concern for the Sub-Committee, he felt, was that of resources. Documentation on the internally displaced was provided to SCAF so that the debate in SCIP would not take place without any consideration of the resource implications for either UNHCR or any other humanitarian organization. He said that the special purpose programme in Cyprus is a unique one which had gone on for some time and there was only one donor supporting that activity. Concerning Georgia, an agreement on the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons was signed in Moscow on 4 April 1994 by Abkhazia, Georgia, the Russian Federation and UNHCR; with UNHCR nominated as the lead agency. As regards the community-based approach to reintegration activities, the Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support said that this should in no way undermine the principle of protection for individual refugees. In the past, UNHCR thought the only effective protection presence it could have in a country of origin was to have assistance programmes in that country; in fact, international presence alone has been found to be an effective protection tool.

D. Land-mines and humanitarian operations

57. The Chairman commended document EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.14 and said that it should be given broader distribution. One delegate said that the use of land-mines represented a flagrant violation of human rights. Another said, that in the view of her Government, de-mining as such is a military activity and, therefore, the Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO) of the United Nations Secretariat should be involved and this issue should be dealt with at appropriate fora. Another delegate suggested that UNHCR provide more mine-awareness training for refugees, particularly women. Several delegations strongly supported the conclusions contained in the document; they stressed that the issue of mine clearance should not be undertaken unilaterally by UNHCR and that endeavours should be coordinated through the designated focal point within the United Nations Secretariat, namely the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA). Another delegation, while recognizing that UNHCR's involvement in mine clearance would only be on an ad hoc basis and was related to the execution of its programmes, such as voluntary repatriation, asked how UNHCR proposed to assure technical expertise in this area. One delegation asked which organizations had collaborated with UNHCR in mine clearance.

58. The Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support said that land-mines posed a serious threat to the effective implementation of voluntary repatriation programmes. He expressed his gratitude to the Government of Germany for providing a consultant to assist in clarifying the issues involved. The necessity for cooperation had been raised in meetings with DHA, and its representatives had been made aware of UNHCR's expectations that they assume coordination and leadership in this field. He said that UNHCR had cooperated with RIMFIRE, a UK mines advisory group, the Norwegian People's Aid and Handicap International in some of its mine clearance and related activities. In concluding his comments on this sub-item, the Director said that addressing land-mines and the issue of demobilization in post-conflict societies were prerequisites for the restoration of a civil society and sustainable development. He went on to say that UNHCR hoped to continue to play an important advocacy role in relation to mine clearance by pointing out how severely its voluntary repatriation efforts are hampered by this menace to human life; the Office will continue to give emphasis to mine-awareness, with other related activities being undertaken only on an exceptional basis.

59. In his summation of this cluster, the Chairman hoped that the wealth of comments would provide guidance to the Office and the concerns raised by delegations could be brought up and resolved in different fora so as to provide a coherent and system-wide response to these problems.


60. The Chairman invited comments on document EC/1994/SC.2/CRP.15, which dealt with international procurement. He reminded the meeting that General Assembly resolution 48/216 had requested executive heads of United Nations organizations and programmes to pay particular attention to the recommendations of the Board of Auditors regarding procurement.

61. One delegation queried why services were not included in the tables. Another delegation noted with satisfaction the improved balance in procurement from different countries and encouraged UNHCR to continue these efforts. UNHCR's continued cooperation with Inter-Agency Procurement Services Offices (IAPSO) in standardizing relief items was welcomed. The delegate pointed out that one of the topics being discussed at the Inter Agency Procurement Working Group meeting in Helsinki (16-20 May 1994) was "green" procurement; UNHCR's policy to promote the purchase and use of environmentally friendly goods and services was also welcomed. This comment was supported by another delegation.

62. One delegate welcomed UNHCR's response to the observations by the Board of Auditors which resulted in substantial savings on plastic sheeting costs, and the appointment of a Senior Purchasing Officer. The effective management of the central emergency stockpile was obviously important as were cost-effective procurement systems and methods. Further attempts at United Nations standardization of relief items and cooperation with IAPSO were encouraged. The question was raised whether the figures in the annexes accurately reflected UNHCR's overall procurement activities.

63. UNHCR was commended by another delegation for the improvements made in its procurement systems; such systems had to reflect the growth in UNHCR activities over the last two years; this meant that the control and administrative apparatus had to increase to be commensurate with the size of the organization.

64. In responding to interventions, the Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support said that UNHCR was faced with an enormous challenge in the area of international procurement. Significant improvements had already been made in strengthening and reorganizing the Supply and Transport Section and others were currently being implemented; greater emphasis would be placed in the future on the logistics of procurement. He confirmed that services (except transport of goods) were not reflected in the statistics but was not certain as to how this could be improved. He stressed that the annexes referred only to international procurement by the Supply and Transport Section in Geneva and included neither procurement made by UNHCR field offices on a national or regional basis, nor procurement made by UNHCR's implementing partners.


65. Turning to Item 6, any other business, the Chairman said that there was a background paper available to delegations, entitled "Statistical Overview". After congratulating UNHCR for providing this important document, he drew the attention of the delegations to Table 10, which provided selected information on the sex and age distribution of a number of refugee populations.

66. One delegation raised the question of whether it might be possible to invite other agencies and NGOs to meetings of SCAF when issues of particular interest to them were discussed. The Chairman said he would consult the Chairman of the Executive Committee on this point, and that he was aware that the Chairman of the Executive Committee was looking into this matter.

67. Considering the gravity of current conflict situations and their impact on refugees, displaced persons and innocent civilians, notably in Rwanda, Yemen and the former Yugoslavia, the Chairman proposed that the Chairman of the Executive Committee, after raising the matter in SCIP, issue a press release. After reading the text of the proposed communiqué, he requested the authorization of delegations to take the necessary steps in this regard; the proposal was unanimously approved.

68. The Chairman then invited the Deputy High Commissioner to make some concluding remarks. The Deputy High Commissioner expressed his appreciation to delegations for the very substantive exchange of information and views that had taken place in the course of the meeting. He said the Office would try to provide timely documentation, despite all the constraints. The Deputy High Commissioner also expressed deep appreciation for the continuing financial support of Member States and thanked the Chairman for his efficiency in chairing the meeting.

69. The Chairman announced that the next meeting of SCAF would take place on 24 June 1994. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.