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Cablegate: Unhcr: Excom Cable #2: Prm Acting a/S Greene,S

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) Summary: On the margins of the 56th Session of the
UNHCR Executive Committee (EXCOM), PRM Acting A/S Greene
previewed our priorities for the week-long session with UN
High Commissioner for Refugees Guterres. They included
improving UNHCR's approach to durable solutions, management
reform, emergency response and camp management, and
clarifying UNHCR,s role with internally displaced persons.
Greene pressed Guterres to "be out in front" on refugee
issues and to drive home durable solutions. By doing so,
Guterres could have a positive impact on governments,
willingness to provide diplomatic muscle and financial
support to UNHCR,s efforts. Greene also pressed for strong
UNHCR cooperation to meet President Bush's commitment to
resettle 70,000 refugees in 2006 -- a 30 percent increase
over FY 2005 figures. End summary.

2. (U) PRM Acting A/S Rich Greene, joined by Ambassador
Moley; USAID DCHA Deputy Assistant Administrator Bill
Garvelink; DHS/CIS Director of Refugee, Asylum and
International Operations Director Joe Cuddihy; PRM/MCE
Director Margaret Pollack; and RMA Counselor Piper Campbell,
met with UN High Commissioner Antonio Guterres, Deputy High
Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin, and Americas Bureau Director
Philippe Lavanchy October 3 to discuss a wide range of issues
important to the USG-UNHCR working relationship. Greene
encouraged the High Commissioner (HC) to use EXCOM as a
springboard to implementing his agenda for change.

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Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
----------- ----------

3. (SBU) Greene told Guterres that while many questions
remained about implementing the proposed "cluster lead"
approach to IDPs, the U.S. welcomed UNHCR,s recognition that
they have significant technical expertise to offer and
appreciated the HC,s commitment to make UNHCR a more
predictable partner. Guterres responded that he was aware of
and shared many of the USG concerns. During the difficult
negotiations leading up to the September 12 IASC Principals
meeting, he made it clear that UNHCR would not take a cluster
lead in natural disasters situations. It also would not/not
take the lead in protection, camp management or emergency
shelter (a) in places where these activities could undermine
the institution of asylum or UNHCR,s protection role, (b) if
resources were not forthcoming, or (c) where the existing
response was working or other actors had greater
capabilities. He emphasized that UNHCR,s leadership role
should provide added value to an IDP response.

Durable Solutions: Bhutan/Nepal and Sudan
--------------- --------- -------------

4. (SBU) Commenting that some of the USDEL's best work would
be done in the numerous bi-lateral meetings occurring on the
margins of EXCOM, Greene said that the USG would push for
progress on durable solutions, including in several meetings
on Bhutan/Nepal and protracted refugee situations in Africa.
Guterres recounted his recent conversations with the
Ambassadors of India and Nepal, noting that India may grant
UNHCR full status and discreetly put pressure on Nepal and
Bhutan to reach a durable solution. Guterres said Nepal
understands that the international community wants Nepal to
create the conditions for progress. He had pressed the
Ambassador to allow UNHCR to conduct a registration among the
Bhutanese refugee population. If the Bhutan-Nepal recent
commitment to address category one and four refugees started
off well, Guterres said, interested countries may have a more
open attitude for further cooperation. Greene encouraged
Guterres to drive forward the small opening that now exists.
With regard to Sudan, Guterres expressed great worry,
commenting that the window of opportunity for a political
solution was closing. Upcoming meetings were critical to
bring the splintering factions together.

Management Reform: Looking for Progress
----------- ------------- --------------

5. (SBU) Greene emphasized that the U.S. was looking for
progress on management reform issues, including emergency
response, camp management, human resources policies, use of
technology, and creating a culture of accountability.
Guterres acknowledged all these priorities, but focused on
human resource reform as key to success in the other areas.
He cited UNHCR,s inability to manage its Burundi activities
as an example of existing rigid personnel policies. He said
that UNHCR Director for Human Resources and Management
Raymond Hall was preparing 2-3 reform documents that would
soon be discussed by senior management. Referring to the use
of technology, Guterres said that UNHCR has the right people
in place (e.g., the newly created results-based management
unit), but that change will take time and that good
technology use is dependent on good management. Guterres has
requested a report on global management initiatives that, by
early 2006, should lay out minimum standards for managers and
short-term, measurable objectives.

Emergency Response and Camp Management/Coordination
-------- ------------------- -----------------------

6. (SBU) Guterres was quite optimistic that his human
resources reform efforts would have a positive impact on
UNHCR,s emergency response capacity. Previewing what he
later announced during EXCOM, Guterres praised the work of
Emergency Services and Security (ESS) chief Arnaud Akodjenue.
He said his decision to make Akodjeneu the head of the
Division of Operational Support (DOS) -- replacing Marjan
Kamara, whom Guterres has asked to head the Africa Bureau --
is meant to integrate an emergency response mind-set into
UNHCR,s operations. On camp management and coordination,
again referring to the new IDP cluster lead approach,
Guterres said that the new approach compels UNCHR to define
what camp management means. UNHCR,s responsibilities as
cluster lead would entail setting standards for camp
management and "guaranteeing" that agencies managed camps to
that standard, coming in as last resort only when necessary.
Guterres said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland was
a committed advocate for resource mobilization among donors
for these new activities. UNHCR would draw from the CERF for
early start-up costs and would appeal for funds in
Consolidated Appeal (CAP) documents. Guterres commented that
if governments have certain expectations of UNHCR in
responding to IDP needs (e.g., Liberia), they need to commit
resources to allow UNHCR to meet those expectations.


7. (U) It remains evident from both the frankness and tone
of the discussion that the new High Commissioner has the
skills and intellectual energy to re-focus UNHCR,s work and
push durable solutions. UNHCR,s leadership in resolving the
decades-old Nepal/Bhutan situation will be a test case for
the kind of agency Guterres wants to create: an agency that
can mobilize routinely not only an effective and efficient
staff response, but the necessary diplomatic and financial
support from governments to cement real international
solutions and resolve long-standing refugee situations. End

8. (U) Acting A/S Greene cleared this cable.

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