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UNHCR's governance body in annual session next week

Briefing notes

UNHCR's governance body in annual session next week

1 October 2010

The 61st annual session of UNHCR's governing body, the Executive Committee, begins on Monday 4th October in the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Executive Committee, comprising 78 states this year, reviews refugee protection issues and endorses UNHCR's annual programmes and budgets.

The Chairman of the Executive Committee, Australian Ambassador to the UN Peter Woolcott, will open the five-day meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday. This will be followed by a video message of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. High Commissioner António Guterres will also address the meeting on Monday morning. A press release on his opening remarks will be issued on Monday morning and his speech will be available on the UNHCR website. Both addresses will be open to accredited Palais-based media.

Monday will conclude with the Nansen Refugee Award ceremony, which this year goes to Alixandra Fazzina, a British photo-journalist who has been documenting human suffering caused by conflicts and displacement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan. For the first time the ceremony will be held at the Batiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva, thanks to the support of the Geneva, Swiss and Norwegian authorities.

With the exception of the opening session, which takes place in the Assembly Hall, all subsequent sessions from Tuesday to Friday will be held in Room XIX.

Our annual report on international refugee protection - a global review of refugee and asylum challenges and achievements - will be presented late Wednesday or early Thursday by Assistant High Commissioner Erika Feller. A separate press release will be issued on her report.

UNHCR's revised budget for 2011 will be presented on Thursday (US$ 3.3 billion for annual programmes and US$ 75.6 million in additional requirements).

Throughout next week's meeting of the Executive Committee, a number of side events looking into specific issues and operations will be held in room XXIII. The detailed programme is in the Executive Committee schedule. These side events are also open to interested media.

At the end of the Executive Committee annual meeting, the High Commissioner will give his traditional press conference in the Press Room III at 12.30 p.m. on Friday, 08 October.

UNHCR's 61st Executive Committee met in Geneva from 4 to 8 October 2010.