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UNHCR 70th ExCom, General debate. Statement by Denmark.

UNHCR 70th ExCom – October 2019
Agenda item 3 General debate
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Chair, High Commissioner, Distinguished delegates

Aligning with the EU statement, let me extend my sincere thanks to the High Commissioner for his remarks which highlight the impact of new refugee emergencies, ongoing protracted displacement and the disproportionate burden this places on host countries. We also note the complexity of mixed migration situations as well as UNHCR’s commitment to strengthen the protection of IDPs in close collaboration with relevant partners in the UN system. 

The international protection regime and UNHCR’s work to provide protection and humanitarian assistance and secure durable solutions for refugees remains of the utmost importance and relevance. I am therefore pleased to confirm that the Danish government will continue to be a strong supporter of UNHCR. This is evidenced by our partnership agreement providing un-earmarked and flexible, multiyear humanitarian funding.  And it has been further underlined by recent substantial contributions to UNHCR’s ongoing efforts in a number of situations, including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Syria, Libya, Mali and Burkina Faso. We look forward to strengthen our partnership with UNHCR further in pursuit of a humane and just asylum system, including through additional funding and not least by the government’s decision to resume resettlement.

Denmark remains strongly committed to the Refugee Compact. We believe that the GCR represents a unique opportunity for the international community in ensuring a much needed improvement in the response to large displacement situations.

To that end Denmark expects to contribute positively at the Global Refugee Forum – through pledges, contributions and sharing of best practices. We are pleased to announce that Denmark will be a co-sponsor for the themes of Burden and Responsibility sharing and Solutions. And we call on all stakeholders to engage fully in the Forum.

National leadership and ownership is crucial for the comprehensive approaches outlined in the GCR. Inclusion in national education and health systems, access to labour markets and freedom of movement for refugees not only paves the way for additional development funding, it also fosters increased self-reliance among refugees and facilitates durable solutions, including voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity.

We, the international community, must support host states in such inclusive approaches through committing ourselves to the required burden- and responsibility sharing. For our part we have already increased our humanitarian funding to record levels. Of equal importance is the fact that we have also taken significant steps to include the response to protracted displacement in development programs in a number of host countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Jordan and Lebanon.
In this context, we also highlight the importance of collection and analysis of data in large forced displacement situations as this is a key element in building new inclusive approaches that serve both refuges and host populations. To that end we are pleased to host and support the UNHCR-World Bank Joint Data Centre.

We welcome UNHCR’s continuing efforts towards being fit for the tasks that face the organization. This includes the ongoing regionalization of the bureaux, which will help bring decision-making closer to the national and local levels, and thus closer to affected populations. We support these efforts – and also see them in light of the Grand Bargain, the UN Development Reform and - not least - as part and parcel of a successful implementation of the GCR.

As a donor of significant un-earmarked and flexible funding, we will continue to highlight the need for accountability, oversight and transparency to also ensure the continued effectiveness and predictability of humanitarian aid

Let me join others in highlighting the importance of the campaign to end statelessness. This campaign has made great progress here at its midway point. Denmark is a party to both the 54 Convention and the 61 Convention and we recognize their overall importance. In line with this, we pledge to continue our efforts for the general avoidance of statelessness. Moreover, Denmark pledges to work to improve cooperation between our national authorities regarding identification of stateless persons.
Finally, let me express our appreciation and gratitude to the staff of UNHCR working in often difficult and dangerous conditions to protect and assist those who are forced to flee.

I thank you.