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Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the High Commissioner's Programme, (Pledging Conference) | Talking Points for Mr. Ruud Lubbers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Speeches and statements

Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the High Commissioner's Programme, (Pledging Conference) | Talking Points for Mr. Ruud Lubbers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

8 December 2003

Geneva, 8 December 2004

Every year, it is vital that we have funds at our disposal on 1 January, to be able to continue all our operations without any interruption. Today's pledging conference offers an important opportunity to achieve this goal.

Of the US$ 954.9 million required in 2004 for our Annual Budget, only some 2.5% is allocated from the United Nations Regular Budget. UNHCR is completely dependent on voluntary contributions from governments and non governmental donors for the remainder. UNHCR's Annual Budget for next year is considerably higher than it was this year as a result of the mainstreaming of programmes, though at a reduced level, which in 2003 formed part of our Supplementary Programmes.

Since the adoption by UNHCR's Executive Committee of the 2004 Annual Budget, I have approved a number a Supplementary Programmes for next year. Three of these - including a first tranch for Liberian refugees, emergency assistance to Sudanese refugees in Eastern Chad and support to the Commission for Human Security - were approved in time to be included in the 2004 Global Appeal.

The Supplementary Programme for the Repatriation and Reintegration of Sudanese refugees is not included in the 2004 Global Appeal. This is based on the assumption that the peace negotiations will culminate in an agreement, paving the way for over 500,000 Sudanese refugees to return home. The cost of the first tranch of the Sudanese programme is US$ 8.8 million. It was launched as a Supplementary Appeal on 21 November 2003.

This will bring the grand total for 2004, as it stands now, to around US$ 1 billion of which US$ 57.3 million is for Supplementary Programmes.

Detailed planning for 2004 activities for Iraq under the umbrella of UNHCR's Supplementary Programme - and/or under the Trust Fund for Iraq - is still under review. As soon as these are finalised, they will be communicated to you.

For 2004, we are already considering the possibility that conditions will allow for further repatriations in a number of African countries. These would require additional Supplementary Programmes.

I hope that these important Supplementary Programmes will receive the same generous funding as did our Supplementary Programmes in 2003, and that these funds will indeed be "additional".

Based on the experience of the last few years, it is clear that we have to be prepared for a situation where the Annual Budget is not fully funded. In order to meet the funding requirements for the 2004 budget, a substantial portion of the resources that were contributed in 2003 to the Supplementary Programmes will be reallocated in 2004 to the Annual Programme Budget.

UNHCR continues to make every effort to expand the range of sources from which funding is obtained. Each year, the number of governments contributing to UNHCR increases, while many steady supporters either increase their contributions from existing sources or open new funding channels. The search for non-governmental sources also continues, with funding from companies, foundations, municipalities and a growing number of private donors.

I would warmly welcome pledges from new donors. We will also make efforts to identify more complementary sources of funding. I am confident that our efforts in private sector and corporate fund raising will continue to produce positive results, however modest these may be in comparison with our overall budget. All this must be based on good performance. You will see that the 2004 Global Appeal includes a revised version of UNHCR's global objectives and indicators of progress. We shall report against these in the next Global Report. We also need to ensure that we have strong and effective partnerships with other UN agencies as well as with NGOs.

I hope this Global Appeal will put our work in perspective and motivate you to fully fund the approved budgets for all our programmes.

As we head into 2004, we are challenged not only to find the resources to meet our Annual Budget of US$ 954.9, but also to find the resources for our Supplementary Programmes. In responding to these challenges, we will draw in an integrated way on both our human and financial resources. I hope that our staff can rely on your continuing support.

I ask you once again to provide my office with the resources we need to find lasting solutions for the refugees who desperately need our help. I very much hope that this Global Appeal for 2004 will rally support from our friends and a renewed commitment to protecting refugees, meeting their vital needs and finding solutions for them.

I thank you in advance for your generosity.