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UNHCR Executive Committee:Denmark’s statement in the general debate

04.10.2017  17:00

UNHCR 68th ExCom – October 2017
Agenda item 4 General debate
DENMARK   

As delivered

Madam Chairperson, High Commissioner, Distinguished delegates.
Aligning with the statement made on behalf of the EU and its member states, let me extend my sincere thanks to the High Commissioner for his opening remarks. Succinct and precise as always
The impact of new emergencies and ongoing protracted displacement situations across the world is profound and political solutions are few and far between. The tragic events in Syria, South Sudan, Lake Chad, and now also Myanmar along with many other situations bear witness to this.
By now, it is widely recognized that forced displacement is not only a humanitarian protection challenge but also a development challenge. Countries hosting large refugee populations are shouldering huge burdens and responsibilities, and in doing so they are providing a global public good.
With the CRRF we now suggest that these countries also open their national health and education systems, provide access to labor markets and allow freedom of movement for refugees. All of this to foster increased self-reliance among refugees and to facilitate longer-term solutions, preferably voluntary return to countries of origin in safety and in dignity.
It is in this more coherent approach that the CRRF has the potential to be a game changer in the way host governments and the international community respond to situations of forced displacement.  It is a new way of working for all of us and we will all have to adapt. The CRRF is about new systems and approaches, strong human resources, new types of partnerships and first and foremost about much needed solidarity.
UNHCR must lead the way based on its core mandate, but also with the courage to hand over major responsibilities to development actors that are better suited for supporting the required inclusive approaches to service provision and self-reliance for refugees. UNHCRs primary responsibility will be to help facilitate such efforts through sharing its deep knowledge of needs and capacities among refugees – and by ensuring that their rights are upheld in accordance with international standards.
Visionary leadership, new strategic approaches and partnerships with the private sector, and further improving the manner in which UNHCR cooperates with local and international civil society actors will be necessary. Civil society organizations need to be taken onboard as strategic partners, not only as implementing agencies.
The World Bank has demonstrated its ability to join hands with UNHCR in seeking new solutions. We applaud this partnership and stand ready to continue supporting it as we have done for the past several years. 
This reflects that our funding for UNHCR focuses on supporting new approaches to protracted displacement situations, both in terms of partnerships and selected operations, including in CRRF countries.
At the same time, we are now taking steps to include the response to protracted displacement through our development programmes in Uganda, Afghanistan, Kenya, Myanmar and lately also Bangladesh. In short, we are seeking to walk the talk when supporting the CRRF as a New Way of Working. 
We call on other donors to do the same. Let us all contribute to much needed humanitarian assistance, while at the same time ensuring additional development funding to help refugee hosting countries better shoulder the burden of responding to large refugee populations through inclusive approaches. The CRRF is a real opportunity for improving the prospects for forcibly displaced refugees across the world – and we, the international community, must support this through committing ourselves to the required burden- and responsibility sharing.
We must continue this important and groundbreaking new approach also in the context of the upcoming Global Compact on Refugees. We will engage fully in the consultations over the next few months – and, of course, equally so in the formal consultations between UNHCR and UN member states which will begin in early 2018. 
Madam Chairperson,
In our focus on CRRF we must not forget the plight of IDP’s. Denmark welcomes UNHCRs continuing efforts to strengthen the protection of IDPs but it is  time for the international community to reinvigorate efforts to build a more predictable response to internal displacement, based on an improved legal framework. We look forward to engaging with UNHCR and other key stakeholders in the coming year, as we approach the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
Madam Chairperson,
To conclude, let me once more affirm that Denmark will continue to be a staunch supporter of UNHCR. This year we signed a new five-year strategic partnership agreement with UNHCR, thus affirming our strong relations.
This also includes hosting important headquarter functions of UNHCR in the UN City in Copenhagen, such as UNHCR’s private sector partnership work. We look forward to continuing exploring these and other ways in which Denmark can best support UNHCR in carrying out its crucial mandate.
I thank you.