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U.S. Statement to the Pledging Conference of the UNHCR
December 11, 2012

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

Geneva, December 11, 2012

Madam Chairwoman,

I am pleased to be here today to express my government’s strong support for the 2012-2013 Global Appeal of the Office 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 2012.

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.

This year has been a challenging one, with an unprecedented number of crises requiring UNHCR and Member States to respond to ensure protection and assistance are provided to those who need it the most.

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 make positive contributions to their communities when they are given opportunities to participate in the planning, decision-making, and implementation of the assistance provided to them and when they have access to the labor market and to basic services such as healthcare and education.

Madam Chairwoman, we appreciate the work of UNHCR staff to meet the needs of its beneficiaries as it struggles to address multiple mass crises while maintaining regular operations.  This undoubtedly requires the organization to make difficult decisions regarding prioritization of activities.  We encourage UNHCR to prioritize based on need and vulnerability and to be transparent within the organization, with partners, and with Member States about how these decisions are made.  We continue to encourage UNHCR to present a full picture of its global needs, and to demonstrate a clear correlation between its global priorities and its allocation of resources in the field.  As we go into the fourth year of a needs-based budget, we encourage UNHCR to undertake a lessons learned exercise to reflect on the process.  The Global Needs Assessment has truly been an important step for UNHCR and Member States to better understand and account for the totality of needs of persons of concern.  We must strive to take the necessary steps to maximize its utility in our efforts to meet these global needs.

Finally, Madam Chairwoman, at last year’s anniversary Ministerial here in Geneva, States made pledges as a strong signal of States’ commitment to international protection and to reaffirm our support to UNHCR.  We are pleased to report that the U.S. has made progress in implementing our pledges, and will continue to work on fulfilling the remaining ones.  We remind Member States that it is through the full implementation of our collective pledges that we will enable UNHCR to better serve its beneficiaries for generations to come.

Thank you.