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ExCom Mandate and Statute

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The Executive Committee's Origins and Mandate

The UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) established the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme (ExCom) in 1958 [Resolution 672 (XXV)] and the governing body formally came into existence on January 1, 1959.

A UN General Assembly resolution [1166 (XII)] had requested ECOSOC to establish an Executive Committee consisting of representatives of UN member states or members of any of the specialized agencies. It specified that these representatives should "be elected by the Council on the widest possible geographical basis from those states with a demonstrated interest in, and devotion to, the solution of the refugee problem."

Although established by ECOSOC, ExCom functions as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and its documentation is issued in a General Assembly series. ExCom's report is submitted directly to the General Assembly for consideration in the Third Committee.

UNHCR's Statute [Article 3] directs that the High Commissioner "shall follow policy directives given him by the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council." ExCom does not substitute for the policy making functions of the General Assembly or ECOSOC but has its own executive and advisory functions. These include:

  • to advise the High Commissioner in the exercise of his/her functions
  • to review funds and programmes
  • to authorize the High Commissioner to make appeals for funds
  • to approve proposed biennial budget targets

The Executive Committee holds one annual session. This usually takes place in Geneva during the first half of October and lasts one week. ExCom's Rules of Procedure are contained in document A/AC/96/187/Rev.7.