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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
close this folder9. External Relations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentRelations with Government and Diplomatic Corps
View the documentRelations with the Media
View the documentFunding and Donor Relations
View the documentFormal Written Communications
View the documentAnnexes



Relations with Government and Diplomatic Corps

1. All matters of protocol relating to establishing a new UNHCR presence in an emergency are likely to be handled by the Foreign Ministry in the same way as for other United Nations organizations. However, substantive matters concerning refugees may be handled by another authority, for example the President or Prime Minister's office or the Ministry of Interior. Guidance on the form of written communications with the government is given below.

2. It is important that the diplomatic corps accredited to the country is kept informed of UNHCR's activities from the start of an emergency. An informed and concerned diplomatic corps will be helpful in gaining support for the emergency operation both from the host country institutions and from donor governments for funding.

Briefing Meetings

3. Briefing meetings should start in the early days of an emergency and continue on a regular basis. There may already be a contact group of the ambassadors most interested in refugee matters who could be briefed in the early days of an emergency. Where there is no such group, or to make the arrangements for meetings more formal, it may be appropriate to invite the ambassadors of member states of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme (EXCOM) to the briefings (for a list of EXCOM members, see Annex 1).

The aim is to keep Executive Committee : and other immediately concerned Governments well informed while not devoting scarce time to a major protocol exercise.

4. A number of people may be helpful in giving advice on the organization and participants of the meetings, including: the ambassador from the country of the current Executive Committee Chairman may be helpful in advising on the organization of briefings, or the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, or the ambassador of the country currently holding the presidency of the European Union (as a major donor group), or the Organization of African Unity or other regional groups.

5. A representative of the government would normally be present at these briefings. United Nations organizations and NGOs directly involved in the emergency operation should also be invited to attend.

6. Unless chaired by the representative of the Government, the meeting should normally be chaired by UNHCR. Other agencies should be encouraged to give account of their activities. Initially these meetings may need to be held fortnightly or even weekly, but once a month is a reasonable interval once the situation starts to come under control.

7. It may be useful to prepare for briefing meetings by prior discussions with other participating agencies to ensure that there is agreement on the issues and on information such as population figures.

8. If a question cannot be answered immediately, arrangements to follow up on an individual basis with the questioner should be made.

9. These briefing meetings will be important for fund-raising purposes. Representatives of donor governments will form part of the diplomatic corps and will therefore be involved in the meetings. Additional smaller briefing meetings may be appropriate, to deal with particular concerns of a donor, or to respond to a donor mission, or in respect of major protection issues which might require smaller, more discreet, briefings.

10. A useful complementary measure, which might eventually substitute for the diplomatic and other briefings, is a weekly or monthly written report prepared by UNHCR. The standard internal emergency situation report, or sitrep, could be used as the basis for this report (the format for this is suggested in Annex 3 of chapter 8 on implementing arrangements). If the sitrep is to be used in this way the parts which must not be made public should be clearly marked. Other United Nations bodies directly involved should contribute an account of their work. Such situation reports should be given wide distribution in the operations area and to focal points at Headquarters.

11. Implementation of these briefing arrangements will require valuable time and effort. Clearly the priority is to deliver the emergency assistance needed by refugees. However, if those interested do not have a regular source of information on the progress of the operation, UNHCR staff may end up spending even more time on individual briefings.

Relations with the Media


12. The media has traditionally been an ally of UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies working in difficult conditions. The media, especially locally based correspondents, can also be a useful source of information. There may be considerable media interest in an emergency and perceptions of how the international community in general, and UNHCR in particular, is responding will be set in the early days. This has important implications for support for UNHCR. It takes time to correct an unfavourable first impression, and media interest may have shifted elsewhere before this happens.

The best way to have positive media coverage and support is to run the most effective emergency operation possible in the circumstances. Expertise in relations with the media can never substitute for good performance.

13. Television, radio and newspapers operate on tight deadlines and need factual stories on the emergency, with some background information. Magazines and some radio and television programs cover stories in depth and have more time available for research and subsequent re-checking. Television news channels (such as CNN, BBC World and Sky News), and wire services (for example AFP, AP, Reuters), produce bulletin-type news stories, have very short deadlines, and are likely to be the major source for world-wide coverage of the emergency.

14. Given the logistical difficulties of some emergencies, journalists are likely to approach humanitarian agencies with requests for help in moving around. Whenever possible, and taking into account the operational priorities and the sensitivity of some situations, journalists, both national and international, should be assisted in getting to the story.

General Guidelines for Relations with the Media

15. The first decision to make concerns who should handle relations with the media. The media prefer information directly from those responsible, which can be very time-consuming. It is therefore recommended that a Public Information Officer be a member of the UNHCR field team from the start.

16. The Public Information Officer must have full and immediate access to information concerning developments in the operation and UNHCR policies and reactions. He/she needs to be updated by the most senior UNHCR Officer in the operation as often as necessary, at least once per day in a major emergency. The Public Information Officer should then be responsible for all aspects of relations with the media. Where there is no UNHCR Public Information Officer, good contacts with the press officers of other organizations will be helpful for general advice, and for organizing joint news conferences.

17. In emergencies the media will probably go to the location of the refugees, often unannounced, and expect a briefing from UNHCR field officers on the spot. The briefing given should be limited to facts and practical intentions. See below for tips for interviews.

18. When intense press interest in a particular event can be predicted, there is much to be said for preparing a short and simple statement, distributing it to the enquirers, and avoiding further comment. Close internal coordination with field staff is essential, particularly if the interest relates to an event occurring in a location where UNHCR has field staff. Sending the statement to Headquarters is essential as questions are likely to be raised in Geneva.

19. Newspaper editors will generally print a factual correction, and will often give space in opinion or correspondence columns for UNHCR to comment on errors of interpretation of UNHCR's role and policy. It is more difficult to correct a factual error made on television or radio. However, when trying to made corrections, these should be corrections of fact not interpretation.

UNHCR should be careful to avoid public polemical debate.

Locally-based Media

20. The national media will be very important in determining local attitudes to the refugees, and may also give an early indication of sensitive issues and even government policy. The government may be as concerned by national coverage as by foreign coverage. Local foreign-language newspapers may be less important, except indirectly as a result of their effect on the diplomatic community or foreign press corps.

21. Field offices should monitor the local media, including the radio and television, which may play a much greater role in influencing public opinion than newspapers. Good relations should be developed with local correspondents covering the emergency. However, exercise considerable discretion until there is practical experience of the outcome of interviews. Language barriers are often a source of misunderstanding, particularly on the telephone and a locally recruited Public Information Assistant can be very helpful in this regard.

22. It will probably be useful to make early contact with the news editors of the main national (and any local foreign language) radio, and television stations and newspapers to explain UNHCR's role. Stress that every priority is being given to the needs of the emergency and give a contact reference, should further information be required.

Information Sharing with the Government

23. The government may be sensitive to coverage of the refugees, and early contact should be established with the official press office or information service. General statements or press releases should be shared with the government information services and the department handling refugees and UNHCR. Statements relating to joint government-UNHCR actions may have to be cleared with the government first.

Field/Headquarters Information Sharing

24. A regular and swift exchange of information is essential. Many questions on the operation will be asked directly in Geneva and New York. There is a UN press briefing in Geneva every Tuesday and Friday morning, where UNHCR participates, and a weekday press briefing at noon in New York by the spokesperson of the Secretary-General. In addition, UNHCR calls special news conferences whenever necessary.

25. The Public Information Section at Headquarters must have access to up-to-date information. The Field should therefore:

Keep media interest in mind when reporting to Headquarters (for example in sit reps);

Provide information (in sitreps or separately) on matters likely to be of specific press interest;

Send reviews of local media coverage to Headquarters.

26. In addition, if the Field has given an interview with a major foreign newspaper or network, or if a foreign correspondent has been aggressive or appeared unsatisfied with answers, the Public Information Section at Headquarters should be forewarned.

27. Similarly, the Field must be kept regularly informed by the Public Information Section at Headquarters of international media coverage. Important international media reports (including those based on briefings given in the field) may not be available in the field.

Press who contact Headquarters before going to the field should be clearly briefed that only limited attention and logistical support can be devoted to them by the field offices during the emergency phase.

Tips for Interviews

28. Reporters generally respect the ground rules for an interview, provided these are clearly established in advance. The interviewer and interviewee should agree on type of attribution and how the interviewee will be quoted: for example: by name, "a UNHCR spokesman", "UN sources", "humanitarian worker", "sources in the international community", etc. An interview may need to mix full attribution for the facts, and no attribution for information on political considerations and constraints. Alternatively an interview can be fully attributed and may often be tape recorded. An interview can also be for background information, and in this case what is said by the interviewee is not attributed directly.

29. Radio and television interviews can provide good coverage for UNHCR's aims. They are, by definition, for full attribution. If this is not advisable because of particular sensitivities, avoid such interviews. Bear in mind that interviews on radio and television can be edited.

30. In all interviews and comments to the media, when in doubt err on the side of discretion. Considerable experience and self-discipline is needed to limit remarks to what was previously planned. Having agreed to give an interview or answer questions, showing hostility or irritation will nearly always be counter-productive, no matter how unreasonable or loaded the questions are.

31. UNHCR's work is difficult and mistakes will inevitably be made, but do not try to hide problems and difficulties.

Though it is important to be discreet, honesty and clarity are the best policy.

Most journalists understand these problems and respect efforts in what they know are very difficult conditions. In fact, it is almost always best to talk about problems before the media find out about them on their own - and they usually do. Finally, if mistakes are made, admit them and try to learn from them.

32. When a complete answer to a question is given and a silence ensues, leave it silent. There is no law stating that one has to say more than one wants or intends to say. It is better to pause to construct a response than to ramble. Do not suggest follow-up questions, unless it is in order to disseminate important information.

33. Do not ask for a story to be killed or suppressed. Attempts at censorship will backfire and are likely to generate two immediate consequences; stepped up investigation of the matter to be suppressed; and an unfavourable story on the attempts to suppress it.

34. When in a press conference and especially with the electronic media, state the most important point at the beginning. In subsequent answers and statements, refer again to the most important point. When dealing with radio and television, keep answers short; television and radio put severe restrictions on how much information can be used and long drawn-out explanations and answers tend not to be used and the main point not covered.

35. Give direct answers to direct questions. If the facts are not known, say so, and offer to get back to the reporter with the information.

36. Sensitive political or policy questions should be referred to the main UNHCR field office. Responses to general questions about the situation should be made with UNHCR's mandate and goals in mind.

37. Take the initiative/control. Avoid answering speculative "what if" questions.

Be prepared to take the lead and direct the interview into positive areas of information about the operation.

38. Key things to remember for all interviews are:

BE YOURSELF. While journalists are always on the lookout for a good story, they are not out to make your life miserable. So relax and be friendly. Look at the interviewer. Avoid nervous gestures and mannerisms. Keep your answers short and simple;

BE POSITIVE. Do not criticize colleagues or other UN organizations and NGOs. We are all in the same boat;

BE CONVERSATIONAL. When you talk to journalists, keep it simple and clear. Do not use the type of language found in many UNHCR internal documents. In everyday conversation, ordinary people don't use terms like "modalities", "durable solutions," "inter alia" "specific international protection mandate," "NGO," and "implementing partner." Use examples that will make the information comprehensible to your audience;

BE CONCISE. A 10-minute interview may end up being seconds on the air, or three lines in the newspaper. It is essential to crystallize your thoughts in a few quotable sentences;

BE IDENTIFIABLE WITH UNHCR. If you are being interviewed for television, or if a photograph will accompany the report, try to get a UNHCR logo in the background -possibly a flag or on a vehicle, wear a UNHCR T-shirt or cap.

Guidelines For Appearance On Television

39. Key things to remember for television interviews are:


Do make and maintain eye contact with the questioner, not the camera. Do not let your eyes wander;

DO wear suitable subdued-coloured clothes. Normal working clothes for field conditions are fine - ties and suits are not appropriate;

DO check your appearance before going in front of the camera, hair, buttons, zips?

DO make short statements, each holding up on its own;

DO remember to make your most important points as early as possible;

DO, before you begin, discuss with the interviewer what line the discussion will take;

DO remember that the interviewer and audience know less about your subject than you do;

DO remember that any programme is likely to be edited before use.


DON'T smoke;

DON'T wear sunglasses or jewellery;

DON'T forget that the smallest mannerisms show up more obviously on television;

DON'T fidget or fiddle with pens, pencils, lighters, etc.;

DON'T say "I think" too often, it sounds as though you are uncertain of your subject. Talk about "we" or "UNHCR" instead.

Visibility of the Operation

40. In addition to working with the media to ensure coverage of UNHCR operations, emergency managers must pay attention to the visibility of the operation.

41. Proper identification of staff, vehicles, buildings and relief materials contributes to improved dialogue with beneficiaries, local authorities and partners.

In conflict zones, visible markings can be an important security measure for staff and property.

42. Staff should be visible and identifiable as UNHCR personnel. Visibility items for staff, vehicles and buildings are available from Headquarters (see Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources, Appendix 1). A visible UNHCR will help to show the beneficiaries and the outside world that UNHCR is present, active and delivering services to the refugees.

Funding and Donor Relations

Emergency Fund

43. The availability of funds is a prerequisite for any UNHCR emergency action. The initial funding in an emergency for project and operations delivery and administrative support expenditure is likely to be allocated from UNHCR's Emergency Fund. Under the terms of UNHCR's Financial Rules, the Emergency Fund is established to provide "financial assistance to refugees and displaced persons in emergency situations for which there is no provision in the programmes approved by the Executive Committee", and to meet additional administrative expenditures resulting from those emergencies. The High Commissioner may allocate from the Emergency Fund up to US$25 million annually, provided that the amount made available for any one single emergency does not exceed US$8 million in any one year and that the Fund shall be maintained at not less than US$8 million. Further details are provided in Chapter 4 of the UNHCR Manual and in Appendix 1, Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources.

Central Emergency Revolving Fund

44. The Central Emergency Revolving Fund of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was established to provide funds within the UN system to respond rapidly to emergencies. The fund has a target level of US$50 million and is financed from voluntary contributions. It is used for cash advances to UN operational organizations and entities. In principle these advances are to be reimbursed as a first charge against income subsequently received, usually as a result of consolidated appeals. Further details are provided in the Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources (Appendix 1).

Using Existing Funds

45. If an emergency develops in an existing operation, immediate funds may be available from those already foreseen for that operation or, if appropriate, from the Programme Reserve. Depending on the scale of further needs, and also on the time of year when the emergency occurs, further funding could either be proposed to the Executive Committee as a new current year project or as a new project for the coming year, or could be the subject of a special appeal.

Communicating Needs to Donors

46. Operational needs, progress and constraints must be clearly communicated to donors. A donor relations strategy should be established in the first days of an emergency and maintained for its duration.

47. Donor relations should be maintained through:

i. Briefing meetings and regular contact at field level between UNHCR staff and donor representatives. Regular briefing meetings (see paragraphs 3 to 11 above) with donors should aim to keep them up to date on actions being taken, protection issues, and any constraints;

ii. Regular contact and follow-up at Headquarters level;

iii. Involving donor representatives in missions to see refugee sites and other points at which assistance is delivered;

iv. Indirect communication of operational needs through UNHCR visibility in the media.

48. It is important to highlight UNHCR's protection and coordinating role when communicating with donors. Coordination must be a reality on the ground with UNHCR taking, and being seen to take, an appropriate leadership role.


Only request funding for operations and budgets which have been formally approved.

There are no exceptions to this. This is necessary to ensure funding is targeted where it is most needed, to provide consistency in operational priorities and objectives, and in communicating these priorities to donors. Several sections in UNHCR brief donors and it is important for credibility that the briefings be similar. In case of doubts regarding what should be presented to donors for funding, contact the Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service at Headquarters for advice.

50. Steer donors towards funding those activities or areas of the operation that are most in need of funding. When appropriate, promote regional funding. Do not forget that the emergency may have a regional dimension. Include this and other elements of the UNHCR operation in the briefing and be prepared to discuss funding for all aspects of the operation with donors.

51. Contributions tightly earmarked to one aspect of the operation impede flexibility. Sometimes substantial contributions are strictly earmarked and there is little scope for amending budgets once they are approved.

Donors should be encouraged to make unearmarked contributions whenever possible.

However, if donors do want to earmark a contribution to a specific part of the operation, advise them to check with the Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service at Headquarters to ensure that this portion of the operation has not been funded already, or offered for funding, to another donor.

52. Particularly in emergencies, donors may offer to supply commodities or services rather than make a cash contribution. To a large extent it will be up the Field to decide on the suitability of such contributions. The offer should be immediately reported to the Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service at Headquarters, and the donor requested to follow up with Headquarters. In kind contributions need to be coordinated by Headquarters to avoid duplication of similar contributions by different donors, and to avoid confusion over the amount of cash versus total contribution1.

Preparation of an Emergency Appeal

53. The primary document for communicating with donors is the emergency appeal. It is the appeal which needs to be brought to the donors' attention at briefings, and it is the activities in the appeal against which progress should be reported.

54. The emergency appeal is developed by both the Field and Headquarters.

Information contained in the appeal about operational needs to be generated at the point of delivery - i.e. the field - so appeals written primarily in the field are the most effective in raising funds.

Headquarters is responsible for issuing the appeal: it should have all the information necessary from the Field as soon as possible to enable it to approve budgets and to issue the appeal at the earliest opportunity.

55. The government should be consulted in the development of the appeal. The appeal should also take into account the results of the initial assessment, and the budget should cover all foreseen expenditures.

56. If the situation changes dramatically during the emergency, and the current appeal becomes inappropriate, then the Field should review operational objectives and agree the new direction with Headquarters before the revised operation is presented to donors.

57. The appeal and the way the operation is funded can be a potential source of confusion when the government is UNHCR's operational partner. The total target can be misunderstood as being entirely intended for expenditure in the country, whereas the budget will, of course, cover all UNHCR's direct expenditure, such as for any international procurement and field and Headquarters operational delivery and administrative support, including protection. Clarity on this point from the start, for example in any local press release or comment, can avoid embarrassment later.

1 Further information on contributions in kind can be found in Procedures for Handling Contributions In Kind, IOM/65/96 - FOM/74/96, UNHCR, November 1996. Budgetary procedures for dealing with contributions in kind are discussed in chapter 8 on implementing arrangements.

Communication Between the Field and Headquarters

58. Headquarters and the Field need to work together closely on funding and donor relations issues. The focal point for this at Headquarters is the Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service. The Private Sector Fund Raising Unit at Headquarters may also issue appeals to the general public or aimed at individual or corporate donors.
59. Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service at Headquarters should:

Advise how to deal with a particular donor;

Provide latest information on funding for the operation;

Follow up with donor capitals on potential contributions discussed in the field;

Produce and distribute appeals (with the active participation of the Field);

Prepare specific submissions to donor funding agencies (with the active participation of the Field);

Submit detailed reports to the donors.

60. The Field should:

Produce the basic operation information and information for the appeals;

Inform Headquarters when a donor has indicated an interest in contributing funds, whether to the appeal, to a particular operation, to earmarked activities, or as a contributions in kind, and should also ask the donor to follow up through the normal channels at Headquarters;

Provide information to the donors about the current situation and UNHCR's plans. When deciding on a contribution, donors need relevant information. Some information will be in the emergency appeal and given at briefings, but some donors require more detailed information. Timely and detailed responses will ensure the most rapid funding;

Provide reports and information to Headquarters to assist it in submitting reports to donors. To ensure continuity of funding it is essential that the required information be provided from the Field without delay.

Reporting to Donors and Special Requirements

61. A variety of reports are required by donors in order to account for their contributions and to release additional funds. Bear in mind that donor reporting cycles do not necessarily correspond to UNHCR's reporting and operation cycles.

62. Some major donors to UNHCR's emergency operation require particularly detailed reporting at both financial and narrative level in a unique format with strict deadlines. These special reports are prepared by the Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service at Headquarters on the basis of information from the Field. Some donors also monitor implementation directly through their local representatives.

63. A number of donors attach great importance to the visibility of their financial support, through the marking of assistance material and other means.

Formal Written Communications

64. When establishing a new UNHCR presence in a country, there is likely to be a need for a number of formal written communications to government or local authorities. The purpose of this section is to give brief guidance on the preparation of formal letters and "notes verbales" (formal notes written in the third person - see sample in Annex 2).

65. Formal letters are used for communications to ministers, ambassadors and senior officials (for example, the Director-General of a government department) on important matters.

66. Note the following points for written correspondence with ambassadors, ministers and other dignitaries:

i. The proper opening salutation is: "Sir" or "Madam", with "His/Her Excellency" used, if appropriate, only in the address. However, it may be local practice to begin and end with "Your Excellency". When in doubt check with UNDP or use "Sir". His/Her Excellency precedes all other titles and ranks (e.g. Her Excellency Dr. X Y; His Excellency General A B, Minister of the Interior);

ii. The expression "I have the honour ..." is usually used only in the opening sentence;

iii. "You" can normally be used in the text. However, in a long text it may be courteous from time to time to interject the more formal address (e.g. "I should be grateful if you, Sir, [or Your Excellency] would confirm that this is also the understanding of your Government");

iv. Formal letters end with "Accept, Sir/Madam/Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration".

67. A note verbale is a formal note written in the third person. Notes verbales may be addressed to a Minister for Foreign Affairs or a Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an ambassador or an embassy. Notes verbales are always used in replying to an incoming note verbale. It is written from person to person (e.g. Representative to Minister) or office to office (e.g. Branch Office to Ministry). The following points should be noted:

i. Typical uses of notes verbales include the exchange of information between UNHCR and governments, embassies or permanent missions. The note verbale is not normally used to communicate with other United Nations agencies and is never used to address NGOs or the public. The note begins either, "The Special Envoy/Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in (country) presents his/her compliments to ... and has the honour to ..." or "the Branch Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in (country) presents its compliments to ... and has the honour to ...";

ii. Titles must be given in full, at least in the opening and closing paragraphs. Be sure to use the full correct designation of the country (Kingdom of ..., Republic of ..., Democratic Republic of..., etc.)2;

iii. The complimentary closing of a note verbale is always the same: "The (Representative/Special Envoy) of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in (country) avails him/herself of this opportunity to express (renew) to ... the assurances of his/her highest consideration", or, as appropriate, "The Branch Office ..." etc.;

iv. The note should bear no signature. The Office stamp should be placed over the typewritten date and the officer responsible for its dispatch should sign his/her initials within the stamp. The Representative or Special Envoy and an alternate may be required to register their initials or even signatures with the protocol department of the foreign ministry;

v. The place and date should appear on the bottom right-hand side of the last page. The address does not appear on a note verbale;

vi. The text of the note verbale should be single spaced with double spacing between paragraphs.

68. Both formal letters and notes verbales may bear file references, as brief as possible, on the top left of the first page.

69. Notes verbales are always answered by notes verbales, and formal letters by formal letters. Apart from the restrictions on the use of notes verbales given above, there are no completely clear-cut rules about which to employ when UNHCR is initiating the communication. In general terms, the note verbale conveys brief information and is the normal form for routine exchanges with the protocol department, for example, when seeking customs clearance for relief supplies or advising of the arrival of international staff. References to important meetings with senior officials and major issues, particularly those already discussed, are better treated in a formal letter. A formal letter may also reach the action officer more quickly than a note.

70. If it is necessary to set out UNHCR's position on a specific subject (policy, action taken, intentions, etc.), this may be done in the form of an aide-mire written in the third person. An aide-mire has no addressee and is simply headed Aide-Mire, with the title below. A similar purpose is served by a "Note by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees", a minor difference being that this description goes below the title. An aide-mire would normally be used to convey information to a government ministry or department, an embassy or the diplomatic corps. For a less formal or wider distribution, the "Note by ..." form may be appropriate.

71. All four types of communication should be presented on UNHCR letterhead stationery.

2 The following document is a useful guide: Terminology, Country Names, United Nations Bulletin No. 347 (STICSI SER.F/347/Rev. 1).


Annex 1

As of November 1998





















Democratic Republic

Russian Federation

of the Congo



South Africa

Ethiopia Finland

Spain Sudan







Holy See






Iran (Islamic Republic of)

United Kingdom


United Republic


of Tanzania


United States of America






Annex 2 - Example of a Note Verbale



Note Verbale

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Branch Office for [Ruritania] presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ___________________ and has the honour to request authorization to import [two Toyota land-cruisers]. It requests furthermore that the usual advice be sent to the appropriate authorities for exemption of payment of import duty, excise duty, registration and licensing fees for [these vehicles]. Details of (the vehicles) are as follows:

1. Bill of lading number:

TAN-P-C 16-11/25-03

2. Engine numbers of vehicles:

B-L-C 741-1334

B-L-C 24-04-01

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [of Ruritania] the assurances of its highest consideration.


[name of place of UNHCR office in Ruritania], [date]