Management and Administration Statement

Government of Canada Intervention to the 68th Session of the UNHCR Executive Committee (2017)

Madame Chair,

Canada wishes to recognize the extraordinary challenges UNHCR and its partners face in making a difference in the lives of refugees. With record-high levels of displacement, multiple ongoing crises, restrictions on asylum space and humanitarian funding gaps, it is an extremely challenging environment. We recognize the Secretary General’s vision of reform, and commend the High Commissioner’s efforts in this regard to ensure that the Agency adapts to meet the significant challenges before us.

The development of the Global Compact on Refugees is a valuable opportunity to enhance international cooperation for refugee response. This is a shared responsibility, and there are many ways that all actors can contribute to improved responses. Canada applauds UNHCR’s leadership in the application of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), and we encourage UNHCR to reflect on how it should evolve as an organization in light of the CRRF’s new way of working.

We are very encouraged by the High Commissioner’s change management process and welcome UNHCR’s intention to provide ongoing updates with respect to the implementation of recommendations from the Headquarters Review. We also look forward to hearing the results from the task team reviewing UNHCR’s response to internally-displaced persons, including UNHCR’s value added in providing assistance and improving protection for this highly vulnerable group.

Furthermore, we encourage the Agency to ensure it has appropriate capacity in areas key to its overall policy development and the quality of its strategies and operations. Specialized areas such as monitoring and evaluation as well as research and analysis are particularly important.

Madame Chair,

Canada notes with appreciation UNHCR’s progress in implementing commitments under the “Grand Bargain”, and we call on the Agency to continue in these efforts. We are particularly supportive of UNHCR’s increased engagement with local and national partners, and we encourage closer partnerships with local women’s organizations. We also favour increased collaboration, for example, through the use of joint needs assessments. We strongly support the commitment within the High Commissioner’s Strategic Directions to “putting people first” and recall the commitments made in the Grand Bargain for a “participation revolution.” The perspectives of beneficiaries, including women and girls, must actively inform and guide UNHCR responses.

With multi-year funding, we would are hopeful that UNHCR will be able to tell an enhanced results story. As a recipient of multi-year funding, UNHCR must demonstrate improved results and efficiencies to donors, including through the use multi-year funding arrangements with its implementing partners in the field.

We would also like to acknowledge UNHCR’s active efforts to roll out multi-year, multi-partner planning. This approach will build the needed linkages we know are needed between humanitarian and development assistance and for collective outcomes. We also believe multi-year planning should lead to greater efficiencies and translate into benefits for all of UNHCR’s partners. UNHCR should foster even greater collaboration and coordination with development agencies as well as with the private sector, including by developing of a strategy for partnering with the private sector.

Madame Chair,

Global humanitarian needs are far outstripping available funding, so we must ensure that responses have the greatest impact. To do this, UNHCR must be equipped with the appropriate systems to gather data, develop programming based on this information, and communicate results on the basis of outcomes and not simply outputs. We commend UNHCR for embarking on a comprehensive review of its Results-Based Management framework, and we encourage continued efforts to make the framework more agile.

In particular, we would like to challenge UNHCR to set a date by which all of its operational plans and annual reports going forward will contain comprehensive sex and age disaggregated data. With improved availability and use of disaggregated data, we believe that humanitarian partners will increase attention to gender equality in humanitarian action.

We remain concerned by UNHCR’s funding gap. In light of this challenge, it is essential for the Executive Committee to have a better understanding of UNHCR’s needs-based budgeting process, especially how the Agency prioritizes the allocation of resources within the context of budget gaps. We encourage UNHCR to increase transparency in this process, for example by sharing spending ceilings with Executive Committee members and with periodic updates to clarify how UNHCR prioritizes needs.

Madame Chair,

As we look towards the coming years, we have confidence in the Agency’s ability to continue to respond to the humanitarian needs of refugees and other persons of concern. UNHCR remains focused on its mandate, and continues to be a vital humanitarian partner for Canada.

Thank you.


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