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Strategic partnerships, including coordination (agenda point 5. (a))

Statement delivered by Counsellor Kjetil Elsebutangen, Norway

Thank you for the update and the background paper on strategic partnerships and coordination.

We welcome UNHCR’s commitment to give priority to extending and strengthening partnerships as you implement the High Commissioner’s strategic directions over the next five years.

A significant proportion of UNHCR’s budget is implemented through partners, in particular NGOs. This is positive and a reflection of the diversity needed for a principled and effective humanitarian response.

It is essential to enhance complementarity in partnerships, particularly in situations where coordination is critical, such as in the Horn of Africa, Uganda and South Sudan today.

We commend UNHCR for having taken initiatives to improve partnerships and coordination, for example through the Enhanced Framework for Implementing with Partners and the Refugee Emergency Response Agreements signed with key partners. This work should not lose momentum.

It is important to ensure that policy tools are actually put into practice. This requires good communication and information flow across all levels of the agency.

We welcome UNHCR’s leadership in engaging UNICEF and WFP in harmonizing – while simplifying – approaches to engage NGO partners in the field.

We look forward to concrete actions and tangible results in the year ahead, especially in terms of coordination of due diligence processes, audits and use of web platforms.

We appreciate the engagement of UNHCR in the work stream on reduced duplication of management costs.

We would also like to see the same engagement in other commitments, including on Multi-Year Financing. Norway has taken steps in this direction by signing last year a letter of intent for support to UNHCR’s work in Syria for 2016, 2017 and 2018, to give UNHCR more predictability to plan their work.

As to the NGO consultations later this year, we believe the CRRF is a good thematic topic. We encourage UNHCR to provide NGOs with opportunities to contribute in a meaningful way to the process.

Finally, let me also add that Norway follows with great interest and active participation the World Bank’s increased engagement with forced displacement and we encourage UNCHR to explore the full potential of a strengthened cooperation with the Bank.

Thank you.