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Strategy change UN refugee agency reveals jobs shakeup

UNHCR

UNHCR work in Myanmar

(Keystone / Lynn Bo Bo)

The Officeof the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will be cutting 501 jobs by the end of 2019, including 146 in its headquarter city of Geneva. Jobs will be created in regional offices instead.

The move is part of a strategy to get closer to the agency’s work on the ground.

The posts will be cut from the UNHCRexternal link’s five regional offices, which are in based in Geneva, and its regional platforms in Nairobi and Dakar.

Instead, seven regional offices will be created, on five continents, resulting in 429 jobs, Daisy Dell, director of the division of external relations, told the Swiss news agency Keystone-ATS on Friday, confirming information that had appeared in the Le Temps newspaper.external link

The UNHCR says that it is necessary to decentralise certain decisions in order to respond more quickly to emergencies. “We want to be closer to the populations that we are helping,” Dell told Le Temps.

Le Temps concluded that although the news was a shock, rather than a blow, for international Geneva, it was also a sign of vitality, “a restructuring that shows that the UN agency is capable of adapting to a new situation”.

The Global compact for migration, adopted last year, is expected to reinforce the position of UNHCR’s headquarters, Le Temps noted.

The UNHCR enjoys the support of Switzerland, which earlier this month pledged CHF125 million ($126 million) for the 2019–2022 period. Last year, over 21 million people benefited from UNHCR’s assistance and protection programmes worldwide.external link

Keystone-ATS/Le Temps/swissinfo.ch/ilj

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