Annual UNHCR-NGO consultations kick off on June 29
GENEVA, June 25 (UNHCR) - The 2009 annual consultations between UNHCR and its non-governmental organization partners starts on Monday in Geneva. This year's meeting will bring together more than 180 international and national NGOs for three day of talks on a variety of issues ranging from displacement in urban settings and protracted refugee situations to security and staff safety.
More than 340 delegates will attend the consultations at the Palais des Nations. UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Erika Feller and Director of External Relations Lloyd Dakin will open the meeting, while High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres will make a closing address on Wednesday.
The consultations provide an important international forum for the non-governmental sector to raise issues, network and exchange views with UNHCR. The informal gathering also allows NGOs and states to participate as equal partners, an approach that NGOs welcome.
The refugee agency sees partnerships with NGOs as the best way to ensure that the basic needs of refugees and populations of concern are met. In 2008, some 25 percent percent of UNHCR's total expenditures were channelled through 635 NGOs, including 163 international agencies and 472 national ones.