Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov has held a working meeting today with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. They started their meeting with a silence minute to commemorate Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations.
“We have received sad news that Mr. Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN passed away. He was an outstanding diplomat, a professional and a much respected man both in Russia and worldwide. He advocated Russia’s interests and defended all main principles of the UN. This is a great loss for both Russia and the UN,” the Russian Minister said.
Mr. Puchkov pointed out that cooperation between the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had had a long history. In 1993-2000, the two agencies cooperated to help refugees. Russian Ministry’s truck teams took part in an international operation to deliver relief goods, provided vital serves to refugee camps in Tanzania, Africa, in former Yugoslavia and in Ciscaucasia.
“The Emergency Ministry actively cooperation with the UNHCR during a humanitarian operation in South Ossetia. Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees then, personally visited refugee camps and noted high level of work done by the Russian Emergency Ministry in helping the affected,” the Minister added.
At present, the Emergency Ministry has regular information exchange with operative units of almost all key international organizations, including the International Monitoring and Coordination Center of the International Civil Defense Organization, the UN Emergency Relief Coordination Center at the UN OCHA in Geneva, Emergency Response Coordination Centre of the European Union (ERCC). Information exchange regulations signed with those agencies allow prompt sharing of information in case of a threat or and emergency situation, as well as during emergency relief operations.
“I believe that the importance of such cooperation is evident, especially under the conditions when it is necessary to act coherently, with maximum efficiency as a single, united mechanism,” Mr. Puchkov said.
High Commissioner Grandi said that the UNHCR was interested in strategic partnership with Russia “We would like to make our cooperation more global given the Russian Ministry’s capabilities and desire to become partners,” Mr. Grandi said.
He added that this cooperation and partnership was important for the UN as the Emergency Ministry had extensive experience in humanitarian operations and helping refugees.
Mr. Puchkov said that he supported Mr. Grandi’s initiative of broader and stronger cooperation with the UNHCR.
The parties agreed on setting up a joint working group to draft a new cooperation agreement for helping refugees.
The UNHCR delegation was shown the capabilities of the Ministry’s National Crisis Management Center (NCMC). Head of the Center Viktor Yatsutsenko told the foreign officials about the work done by the Center, using of Ministry’s forces control systems, space monitoring and emergency forecasting.
“Thank you for making time to come to the NCMC, it is an important part of our cooperation and improved international partnership. The Russian Emergency Ministry and the UNHCR could have worked more actively in coordinating the whole network of humanitarian centers,” Mr. Puchkov said.
In conclusion, the Minister invited the High Commissioner to the Comprehensive Safety and Security show due to be held in June 2016 at the Emergency Ministry’s Noginsk Rescue Center.
Working meeting of Russian Emergency Situations Minister Vladrimir puchkov and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi