Delegation of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA

UNHCR - 76th session of the Standing Committee - EU Statement: Agenda item 2b. Management (including risk management, efforts to prevent and respond to SEA, UNHCR reform)

Geneva, 18/09/2019 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 190926_30
Statements on behalf of the EU

UNHCR - 76th session of the Standing Committee Geneva, 18-19 September 2019 EU Statement (as a donor): Agenda item 2b. Management (including risk management, efforts to prevent and respond to SEA, UNHCR reform)

Speaking on behalf of the European Union as a donor, we welcome the discussion on risk management and on efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment. Furthermore, we welcome the update on the transformation UNHCR is undergoing.


On risk management, we appreciate UNHCR’s efforts to implement the Enterprise Risk Management policy and the Risk Management 2.0. Initiative by reinforcing risk management knowledge and capacity through direct lines of reporting and increased number of risk management positions. We hope that well-trained staff will make the difference in improving risk assessment and risk treatments. Furthermore, we see positively the revision of the Strategic Risk Register done by the High Commissioner that testified how identification and analysis of risks is a living process and it cannot be considered a static result in itself.


On sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment, we welcome this first paper fully dedicated to recent achievements in which you reiterate a firm commitment to fight against sexual misconduct. We welcome your determination to promote the necessary changes in your organisational culture to address sexual misconduct. We believe the responsibility for safeguarding rests with all individuals in an organisation; nevertheless, we highly appreciate the personal engagement of the High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner, who have led three internal dialogues on the sexual conduct. Communication,  training/education and awareness raising are very powerful tools to eradicate negative practices.  Keeping a victim centred approach and building transparency and trust with and within staff are key in addressing sensitive topics that touch upon cultural and ethical sensitiveness.


We appreciate the detailed update on your ongoing reform as we fully share UNHCR’s ambition of being a faster and more flexible partner, with decision-making closer to the response. In wider strategic terms, such efforts also correlate with the UN reform agenda of SG Guterres, which the EU has consistently supported from the very beginning.  Strengthening country operations, in combination with the creation of strong regional bureaux will allow UNHCR to strengthen operations management and its broader role in improving collective responses to displacement in line with the its protection mandate and the ambition of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. We believe it will help improve effectiveness and cooperation with others at field level, notably including development actors. At the same time, we stress the importance of keeping strong global coherence at headquarters level. We do think that only a strong strategic vision will enable the organization to remain vigilant on the full respect of its core mandate.


We support UNHCR’s intention to revise the results-based management approach and work on a new indicator framework and better impact assessments. This will enable critically important evidence-based decision-making. Of course, we also hope that this change will be reflected in the budget establishment and budget revision phases.


Furthermore, we welcome UNHCR’s new data strategy that should be able to reassemble different categories of data: financial, human resources and operational as well as broader impact data. We expect this effort to take into account the importance of guaranteeing the best interoperability of data possible with all the other partners. Having holistic internal data management can have added value for a single organization but it can lose impact if it does not facilitate a mutual understanding and clear communication with all the other relevant actors on the ground. However, we reiterate the crucial importance of data protection and not doing digital harm.


Last but not least, we acknowledge the preparatory work for the Global Refugee Forum and UNHCR’s efforts to align its reforms to better support comprehensive responses and the objectives of the Global Compact


Thank you.

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