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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05GENEVA1037
2005-04-22 08:40:00
CONFIDENTIAL
US Mission Geneva
Cable title:  

UNHCR STILL GRAPPLING WITH FUNDING AND POLICY

Tags:   PREF  CD  SU  PHUM  UNHCR 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 GENEVA 001037 

SIPDIS

INFO ADDRESSEES FOR REFUGEE OFFICERS/COORDINATORS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/20/2015
TAGS: PREF CD SU PHUM UNHCR
SUBJECT: UNHCR STILL GRAPPLING WITH FUNDING AND POLICY
ISSUES IN SUDAN AND CHAD


Classified By: DCM Lynn Cassel, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (SBU) Summary: In a meeting with U.S. Mission DCM and
refugee officer, Director of UNHCR's Sudan unit Jean Marie
Fakhouri highlighted funding and policy issues impacting its
operations in Chad and Sudan. In Chad, he acknowledged that
malnutrition had increased at some camps when rations had
been reduced due to shortages from November to February, and
stated that the Chad program will remain extremely expensive
as sparse desert resources are depleted and the climate takes
its toll on housing. In Darfur, he said that UNHCR is
rapidly approaching the point where it will not be able to
function because of financial constraints, and that the risk
of humanitarian workers being targeted for violence has
increased since passage of the Security Council resolution.
In southern Sudan, he cautioned that donor-pooled funding
turned over to the Humanitarian Coordinator was unsound
management, and expressed concern that the Government of
Sudan (GOS) or Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)
could trigger large scale returns before the region was
capable of absorbing them. End summary.



2. (C) On funding: Fakhouri said that at USD 46.7 million in
earmarked contributions for 2005, UNHCR is in relatively good
shape in Chad; however, it is facing critical funding
shortfalls for its operations in Darfur and southern Sudan.
Thus far, the Darfur appeal has only garnered USD 1.9 million
from the UK and a promise of USD 450 thousand from Germany;
UNHCR will have to shut down its Darfur activities if it does
not receive additional funds. In the south, he reported that
Acting High Commissioner (A/HC) Chamberlin has told
Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) da Silva that if UNHCR does not
get a fair share of donor funds made available to him, UNHCR
will only be able to do transportation and return packages;
other agencies will need to be held responsible for quick
impact projects and community development programs which
UNHCR typically incorporates into a repatriation effort.



3. (SBU) Funding, continued: Fakhouri sees the British (Benn)
proposal for donors to pool funding which the Humanitarian
Coordinator then distributes to UN agencies as fatally
flawed, and is urging donors to proceed cautiously. UNHCR has
received only 2.3 percent of funds turned over to the HC thus
far, and received no funding when the HC distributed a
Swedish contribution of USD 14.8 million for southern Sudan.
(He contacted Sweden, which subsequently provided a direct
donation to UNHCR of USD 1.5 million.) Fakhouri also notes
that Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG)
Jan Pronk has instructed all UN agencies to refrain from
issuing appeals independently, thus tying UNHCR to a system

which, thus far, has not responded to its needs. Fakhouri
believes that Japan will support UNHCR activities in southern
Sudan and is hopeful that the Czech republic, Spain and
Nordic countries will also respond to the 2005 appeals.
Mission officers noted that PRM was considering a
contribution for southern Sudan, and could make another
contribution to UNHCR protection activities in Darfur,
depending on availability of funds and UNHCR's pending report
on how it used the USD 1.35 million contribution in 2004.
Fakhouri commented that, while other donor contributions are
important, "without PRM, we won't make it."



4. (SBU) On the Chad budget for 2006: Despite a previous
Lubbers decision to continue the Chad program as a
Supplemental Budget (SB) request in 2006, the Acting High
Commissioner has accepted donor arguments that the Chad
program should be included in the Annual Budget (AB) in 2006.
In addition, UNHCR intends to adhere to its self-imposed
budget ceiling (USD 770 million) in 2006. Fakhouri
anticipates a need in Chad of some USD 80 million for 2006,
even under a best-case scenario. Mission officers suggested
that the logical step would be to increase the 2006 ceiling
by USD 80 million, i.e. from USD 770 million to USD 850
million. Fakhouri noted that this would be consistent with
the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration Affairs'
(PRM) long standing call for UNHCR to prepare needs-based
budgets, but believes that UNHCR's corporate culture will
insist on submitting a budget they believe they can balance.
In order to stay within the ceiling, UNHCR will have to make
substantial cuts in other country budgets to free up money
for Chad, and also reduce the Chad budget. In the past, the
High Commissioner had reduced SB's by 60 percent when
incorporating them into the AB. "If we do that in Chad,
people will die" Fakhouri concluded.



5. (C) On Darfur: Fakhouri believes that USG representatives
in Sudan generally "look favorably" on UNHCR efforts there,
and reports that they told visiting A/HC that they would like
to see UNHCR become more active in Darfur. Mission noted
that PRM had supported UNHCR protection activities for IDPs
in Darfur in 2004, but that the 2005 reports and budgets
suggested that it was increasingly involved in assistance
activities which fall closer to the mandate of other agencies
and funding sources. Fakhouri made the point that protection
and assistance cannot be effectively separated, and argued
that while other agencies were pouring resources into
Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps, few (other than
ICRC) were working in the villages and communities where
UNHCR is assisting people who had stayed behind or returned.



6. (C) On Politics: Chad is an extremely fragile state and
would collapse under the weight of a renewed refugee influx,
Fakhouri said. The Government of Sudan, however, believes it
is on solid ground because the international community has
fired both barrels (sanctions and the ICC) without effect and
"ten days later they walked away from Oslo with USD 4.5
billion." The GOS has also gained popular support in
Khartoum and Darfur by stating that it will not extradite
Sudanese for trial by the court.



7. (C) On security of humanitarian workers: Fakhouri, who is
posted in Khartoum and understands some Arabic, has commented
previously on the inflammatory rhetoric which has come from
mosques and media over the issue of western interference in
Sudanese affairs. He noted that, after the Security Council
resolution passed, anti-UN sentiment in Darfur and Khartoum
increased, and that those people "whose names are in the
(ICC) envelope" now see little to lose in pursuing their own
agendas. Fakhouri stated that evidence in the shooting of a
DART team member last month indicates that it was a targeted
ambush "intended to kill." However, he noted that while
hostility to the UN and its implementing partners as well as
the UK and France has grown, the U.S. had been largely exempt
from the latest round of inflammatory language, presumably
because of our position on referring cases to the ICC.



8. (SBU) On conditions in Chad: He is "saddened but not
surprised" by the malnutrition issue in northern Chadian
refugee camps, which Deputy High Commissioner Morjane had
raised with him after Mission officers delivered a demarche
on the issue. He acknowledged that multiple shortcomings had
occurred and efforts were underway to resolve them. UNHCR
Chad Desk Officer provided Mission officers with a draft
field report which resulted from the demarche (FAXed to PRM).
The cause of increased malnutrition at some camps is most
likely program flaws, including ration shortages from
November to February. The report states, however, that full
rations have been re-established and other measures,
including improved monitoring and NGO management, have been
successfully implemented. Fakhouri predicted that expenses
to maintain refugees in Chad in 2006 will remain high and
possibly increase as water sources and firewood are depleted
and the desert climate destroys tents and plastic sheeting.
Replacement of tents, a constant quest for water, and
distribution of cooking fuel will soon become necessary and
will remain a factor as long as there are refugees in Chad.



9. (C) On southern Sudan: UNHCR mobilized an Emergency
Response Team to work in southern Sudan, primarily Equatoria,
to establish plans and facilities prior to the rainy season.
During the rainy season (May-September), UNHCR will attempt
to create conditions for the beginning of repatriation if it
receives funding. The German parastatal NGO GTZ will serve
as a logistics partner for project implementation. However,
unexploded ordnance is a major concern which has yet to be
addressed. He does not believe that large numbers of refugees
or IDPs will choose to return at this time; however, he fears
that a call by Garang for refugees to return would empty out
Kenya's camps, and that "subtle pressures" by the GOS, such
as bulldozing IDP camps near Khartoum, could also propel
large numbers of people to a desolate South.



10. (SBU) On IDPs: Fakhouri offered somewhat contradictory
but revealing views on UNHCR,s position on IDPs. He said
that UNHCR's mandate interpretation regarding assistance and
protection of IDPs has evolved beyond the position that UNHCR
should restrict itself to populations which had crossed an
international border. However, he stated that a
collaborative approach to protection of IDPs will not work;
there must be a lead agency with a clear mandate. He
acknowledged that UNHCR needs to be more predictable in its
IDP response, and that its "pick and choose" approach has, in
the past, confused and at times angered both donors and other
international organizations. He somewhat incongruously added
that protection of IDPs by humanitarian agencies does not
work, except in failed states, and "Sudan is not a failed
state." He noted that the UNHCR activities in Darfur were
focused on keeping standards of return high for both refugees
and IDPs, a point which the A/HC and Director of
International Protection have also made. "We will not accept
a lowest common denominator approach to returns" he
concluded.



11. (SBU) Comment: Because Fakhouri is regarded as a
knowledgeable and astute observer of events and policies,
this cable largely reports his statements as made. While
other analysts may take strong issue with a number of points,
his opinions could nonetheless be useful in formulating
policy and funding decisions affecting not only UNHCR and
refugees, but in the broader humanitarian and political
context.



12. (U) Comment continued: Mission recommends that the
Department consider Fakhouri's analysis on the manner in
which UNHCR prepares and presents its 2006 budget, and inform
both UNHCR and other donors of its position prior to the
UNHCR donor consultations scheduled for May 18 and 19. End
comment.



13. (U) Khartoum minimize considered.
Moley