Statement by Ambassador Rick Barton, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, on Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Ambassador Rick Barton
U.S. Representative 
New York, NY
November 2, 2010


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States wishes to thank UNHCR for this report. The United States remains a strong supporter of UNHCR and its work in providing protection and life-saving assistance to the millions of refugees, stateless, and internally displaced persons around the world. UNHCR is an invaluable partner in U.S. efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to those who need it most, particularly in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, and Colombia. Its global reach, its protection expertise for refugees, stateless and internally displaced persons, and its critical role in USG refugee resettlement efforts make our support for UNHCR imperative for effective multilateral humanitarian response.

We encourage UNHCR’s efforts to promote accessions to the 1951 Conventions relating to the status of refugees and its 1967 Protocol as well as the 1954 and 1961 conventions on statelessness in the context of the anniversaries of the conventions and the establishment of UNHCR.

UNHCR has been at the forefront of reform within the UN system. The USG has been strongly supportive of UNHCR’s efforts to decentralize, reduce Geneva-based staff, introduce global needs assessments into its budget appeals, and improve its personnel system. We encourage the organization to finalize actions as close to its target dates as possible and consolidate its internal reform efforts. It is also important for UNHCR to be able to show tangible impact of this reform on beneficiaries’ lives. We are pleased to see that two priority objectives of UNHCR are to strengthen protection capacity in response to the threats to humanitarian and asylum space, and enhance the organization’s emergency preparedness and response capability. How will this priority link up and/or impact current human resources management reforms? We look forward to updates on developments.

The next couple of years will be key for the organization – UNHCR has taken on an extraordinary range of internal reform efforts and it needs to ensure that these come together and become part and parcel of the way UNHCR does business. The USG will continue to follow closely UNHCR’s progress in this effort. The success of its efforts would set a glowing example for the rest of the UN system.

Thank you.


PRN: 2010/264