The UN has confirmed that UNHCR will maintain its presence in Banjul in 2007, according to a letter signed by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, on December 27.
The decision arose following consultations with the UNHCR Headquarters, amids concerns by The Gambia government about the reported closure of the UNHCR Office in the country, at the end of 2006.
The UN recalled that the country office was closed in view of the success of the voluntary repatriaton operations of Sierre Leonean and Liberian refugees in 2005.
However, the UN maintained that the influx of refugees from the Cassamance region of Senegal into The Gambia last August, has led UNHCR to reconsider its initial plans. “It should also be noted that at the request of its member States, the United Nations System continues to place high emphasis on accountability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the management of its programmes,” UN said.
The world body disclosed that many UN funds and programmes are reviewing their internal procedures, structures and presence in order to achieve “economies of scale, and it counts on the partnership, cooperation and support” of member states to ensure the success of this exercise.