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U.S. Statement at the UNHCR Pledging Conference
December 7, 2010

Ambassador King

Ambassador Betty E. King
Permanent Representative of the United States of America
to the United Nations and Other International Organizations

Geneva, Switzerland

Mr. Chairman,

I am pleased to be here today to express my government’s strong support for the 2011 Global Appeal of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. On behalf of the United States Government, I am honored to pledge an initial $125 million towards this Appeal. This matches our initial pledge for 2010. Additional contributions will follow.

The United States recognizes the vital importance of providing early and unearmarked contributions to allow UNHCR the flexibility to ensure that critical protection and assistance activities for its beneficiary populations are not interrupted. We encourage other donors to join us in providing UNHCR with strong financial support, in keeping with the principles of Good Humanitarian Donorship.

Mr. Chairman, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate UNHCR on its 60th anniversary. For the last 60 years, UNHCR has worked tirelessly to help protect and advocate for refugees, stateless persons, and others who are fleeing persecution or conflict. This work has saved countless lives and allowed millions of people to return to their homes in safety and with dignity.

We acknowledge the contribution of the many States that are hosting refugees and have provided protection and assistance to refugees around the world, especially those States that have supported opportunities for self-reliance. Refugees can make positive contributions to their communities when they are given opportunities to participate in the planning and implementation of their assistance and have access to the labor market and to basic services such as education.

Mr. Chairman, we are encouraged by the steps UNHCR has taken to reform its budget process, and the progress that has been made in implementing the new budget structure, which takes into account global needs. Adjustments such as allowing all unearmarked funds to move among the pillars and different regions will help ensure all projects receive the maximum available funding. We firmly believe these reforms have made UNHCR a more flexible and effective organization and therefore, more responsive to the needs of its populations of concern.

Thank you.