Strengthening Australia’s partnership with UNHCR
Mr Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, is in Australia from 12–15 February discussing a range of issues affecting refugees, including current and future global humanitarian challenges.
During his visit, Mr Guterres met with Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, AusAID's Director General Peter Baxter and other government officials and NGOs.
Mr Guterres and Mr Rudd committed to strengthening Australia's partnership with UNHCR. Mr Rudd also congratulated Mr Guterres on UNHCR's critical role in responding to crises last year in Cote d'Ivoire, Libya and the Horn of Africa.
In the Horn of Africa, AusAID supported UNHCR by funding the distribution of life-saving relief packages that included jerry cans, buckets, pots, plates and other utensils to allow people to prepare and store water and food safely. The packages also included high-energy biscuits, oral re-hydration salts and water purification tablets.
In Somalia, UNHCR and its partners have distributed emergency assistance packages to more than 280,000 people since July 2011.
Through the Dollar for Dollar initiative, UNHCR Australia raised more than $700,000 in public donations for the Horn of Africa Appeal—this was then matched by the Australian Government.
UNHCR has made significant progress in enhancing its emergency response capacity worldwide. Through its new global stock management system, UNHCR can now respond to up to three global emergencies simultaneously, delivering shelter and relief items for up to 600,000 people.