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A major priority for UNHCR is to strengthen its partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGO). The agency sees such partnerships as the best way to ensure that the basic needs of refugees and populations of concern are met.

For example, UNHCR endorsed the Global Humanitarian Platform's Principles of Partnership in July 2007 and disseminated them to its staff. These principles set out common standards of equality, transparency, complementarity and a results-oriented approach among all humanitarian groups.

In addition, the High Commissioner hosts an annual meeting, or dialogue, for a wide range of experts, including national and international NGOs from around the world. The informal gathering allows NGOs and states to participate as equal partners, an approach that NGOs welcome.

In 2008, some 25 percent percent of UNHCR's total expenditures were channelled through 636 NGOs, including 162 international agencies and 474 national ones.

UNHCR's local partnerships give it an unmatched presence on the ground. More than 75 percent of the UN refugee agency's NGO partners are local organizations. Such groups provide both local expertise and the capability to become operational on short notice in emergency situations.

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NGO Partnerships in Refugee Protection: Questions And Answers

Questions and answers on UNHCR's work with NGOs. (2007 edition)

Partnership: An Operations Management Handbook for UNHCR's Partners (Revised Edition)

A practical guide for those working with UNHCR in protecting and assisting refugees.