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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUsing the Handbook
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAbbreviations
View the documentUNHCR's Mission Statement
Open this folder and view contents1. Aim and Principles of Response
Open this folder and view contents2. Protection
Open this folder and view contents3. Emergency Management
Open this folder and view contents4. Contingency Planning
Open this folder and view contents5. Initial Assessment, Immediate Response
Open this folder and view contents6. Operations Planning
Open this folder and view contents7. Coordination and Site Level Organization
Open this folder and view contents8. Implementing Arrangements
Open this folder and view contents9. External Relations
Open this folder and view contents10. Community Services and Education
Open this folder and view contents11. Population Estimation and Registration
Open this folder and view contents12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter
Open this folder and view contents13. Commodity Distribution
Open this folder and view contents14. Health
Open this folder and view contents15. Food and Nutrition
Open this folder and view contents16. Water
Open this folder and view contents17. Environmental Sanitation
Open this folder and view contents18. Supplies and Transport
Open this folder and view contents19. Voluntary Repatriation
Open this folder and view contents20. Administration, Staffing and Finance
Open this folder and view contents21. Communications
Open this folder and view contents22. Coping with Stress
Open this folder and view contents23. Staff Safety
Open this folder and view contents24. Working with the Military
View the documentAppendix 1 - Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources
View the documentAppendix 2 - Toolbox
View the documentAppendix 3 - Memoranda
View the documentAppendix 4 - Glossary

Appendix 4 - Glossary

See also chapter 2 on protection, Annex 1 for a table of international instruments with their short and full titles. Chapter 15 on food and nutrition includes a glossary of technical terms used in that chapter.

Asylum seeker

An individual whose refugee status has not yet been determined.


Organizational division at UNHCR Headquarters dealing with a particular region.


All persons under the age of 18 (as defined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child).

Convention refugees

Persons determined to be refugees by the authorities of States that have acceded to the Convention and/or Protocol. As such, they are entitled to claim the rights and benefits which those States have undertaken to accord to refugees.


The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme which currently consists of representatives from 53 states elected on the widest possible geographic basis from those states with a demonstrated interest in and devotion to finding solutions for refugee problems.

Financial Rules

The "Financial Rules for Voluntary funds administered by the High Commissioner for Refugees" (document A/AC/96/503/Rev-6 of 1 February 1996).


UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.

Implementing agreement

Agreement between UNHCR and a partner which defines the conditions governing the implementation of a project.

Implementing partners

Operational partner that signs an implementing agreement and receives funding from UNHCR.

Internally displaced persons

See definition in chapter 2 on protection.


An Inter-Office Memorandum/Field Office Memorandum originating from Headquarters and containing management and other instructions.

Mandate refugees

Persons considered by UNHCR to be refugees according to the Statute and other relevant General Assembly resolutions. This determination is not dependent upon the state of asylum being party to the 1951 Convention or 1967 Protocol. Mandate refugees can benefit from the High Commissioner's action. They do not, however, benefit from the rights accorded to Convention refugees, unless they are also recognized as refugees by a State party to the Convention.

Non-governmental organization

A private voluntary agency created to perform beneficial activities according to its statutes or constitution.


This term is applied to the organization directly implementing an assistance project, e.g. UNHCR becomes operational when it provides assistance directly to refugees.

Operational partner

Governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and UN agencies that work in partnership with UNHCR to protect and assist refugees, leading to the achievement of durable solutions.


For convenience, the word refugee is used in this handbook to describe any person of concern to UNHCR. Chapter 2 on protection provides definitions of the different categories of persons of concern, including refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless people.


The High Commissioner's representative in the country where the emergency occurs (regardless of the representative's official title).

The Field

The area, outside Headquarters, where UNHCR provides protection and assistance to refugees and which contains UNHCR's Regional Offices, Branch Offices, Sub-Offices and Field Offices.

The Statute

The Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (General Assembly Resolution 428 (v) of 14 Dec. 1950). "Statutory" should be understood accordingly.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
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