Saturday 7 June 2008

Mary @ Future Challenges humanitarian aid conference

Crown Princess Mary had a busy day last Wednesday (June 4). In the morning Mary attended a high level half day conference about humanitarian aid, more specifically it was on Future Protection Challenges – Responding to Conflict and Forced Displacement, convened jointly by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Refugee Council. Mary is the patron of the Danish Refugee Council and recently made a working visit to the U.N in Geneva to familiarise herself with how UNHCR operates. The Copenhagen conference was opened by the Danish Minister for Development Co-operation, Ulla Tørnæs. Speakers included the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), António Guterres, who gave the keynote speech, "Protection challenges and new trends in human displacement". Mary recently met Mr. Guterres while visiting the UNHCR in Geneva last month. Other speakers were Andreas Kamm, the Secretary-General of the Danish Refugee Council, Dr. Peter Walker, the Director of the Feinstein International Famine Center at Tufts University and James Darcy, the Director of the Humanitarian Policy Group at the British Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The aim of the conference is to work towards revising Denmark's humanitarian aid strategy.

As the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has said in recent times, there are new conditions and issues affecting refugees and the international conventions and responses to them. He says refugees are driven to move not only because of war and persecution but also because of environmental degradation, climate change and extreme deprivation. These causes are all increasingly interlinked and there are many examples of climate change igniting conflict which can lead to displacement (Darfur and Burma are prime examples). Greater knowledge about future challenges provides the basis for better responses within afflicted countries and from the international community.

Humanitarian Space - a co-ordinating and resource site set up by Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs with stratgic partners including the Danish Refugee Council and the U.N. High Commission for Refugees

Ulla Tørnæs' opening speech
...A special welcome to our key note speaker: United Nations High Commissioner António Guterres. UNHCR is an important strategic and operational partner to Denmark. It is the primary organization with responsibility for protecting and finding durable solutions for refugees, and it is, therefore, by far the largest recipient of Danish humanitarian assistance. Mr. Guterres, we are very happy to have you here today!

And, it is a special honor for me to welcome
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary, who is the royal patron of the Danish Refugee Council. I would like to thank you for your engagement in the refugee cause. Your recent visit to the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva clearly showed your commitment and your interest in UNHCR’s work to protect and assist displaced people all over the world...

Future protection challenges - Responding to conflict and forced displacement:
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Refugee Council hosted a half day Conference on 4 June 2008. The conference was opened by Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs. Keynote speech by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. On the conference Dr. Peter Walker ( The Feinstein International Center) and James Darcy (ODI) also spoke. Both known and recognised for their contributions within the humanitarian aid sector. Conflicts that take place within states, in the form of civil wars, armed insurrections, violent secessionist movements and other internal strife have dominated the conflict agenda during the past few decades. However, there are indications that the root causes of conflict are changing and that population displacement is becoming more complex in nature. This conference shed light on how the factors generating conflict may evolve over the next 5-10 years, what that implies for the nature of forced displacement, and how the international community should respond to resulting future protection challenges.

DRWs posts Mary in Geneva for visit with UNHCR & WHO
& Mary in Geneva: day two

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