The Annual Consultations with NGOs, Geneva 2013

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 The Annual Consultations with NGOs took place from 11 to 13 June 2013 at the International Conference Center, Geneva, Switzerland.

The Association Vasa prava BiH took part in this year’s annual consultations between UNHCR and its NGO partners.

Over 410 humanitarians participated in this year’s consultations, representing some 220 international and national NGOs from a broad range of operations around the globe. Every year, these consultations are an excellent opportunity to review and strengthen the association’s capacities, with the goal of better serving those in need of protection. Vasa prava BiH had a series of side meetings with senior UNHCR managers and various NGOs from all over the world to discuss issues of common concern and share information and ideas.

It has been reiterated that NGOs are vital operational and advocacy partners in many different contexts and contribute significant expertise and competencies in protection-based responses.

Throughout its history, UNHCR has worked in close partnership with NGOs to protect and assist refugees. One major manifestation of these partnerships is programs facilitated by UNHCR and implemented by NGO partners. In 2012, over a third of the $2.3 billion spent by UNHCR on protection and assistance was channeled through more than 760 NGOs across the globe. Of these, 600 were national or local NGOs and 160 were international.

The situation in Europe is affected by irregular mixed movements of refugees and migrants and all are struggling with the complex challenges arising in this context. Countries in the EU’s eastern and southeastern neighborhood and EU Member States at the external border face a particularly challenging task in controlling unauthorized entry and preventing security threats while at the same time taking account the protection needs of people within these movements.

Civil society plays a vital role in crafting effective and protection-sensitive responses to mixed movements at national, regional and international level and rising xenophobia in some counties, including through its advocacy efforts and direct provision of assistance to those in need. In many countries, civil society, UNHCR and governments are working together to address mixed movements in protection-sensitive ways following UNHCR’s 10-Point Plan of Action on Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration.

The aim of consultation was  to bring together representatives of NGOs from all around Europe to share their experience, exchange relevant good practices and explore areas for enhanced cooperation among each other, with their governments and with UNHCR.