Type of Resource: 
Manuals and Training materials
Diaspora and Humanitarian Support

UNHCR is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people. UNHCR is also involved in the response to internally displaced persons (IDPs) within the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) context, (co) leading at global level three clusters.

The agency is often faced with large scale emergencies requiring an immediate response – such as an eruption of fighting causing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes seeking safety and asylum across borders. That means the agency must be prepared and able to mount an emergency response without delay.

The UNHCR Emergency Handbook reflects current policies and good practices, bringing attention to out-of-camp emergency response, covering all aspects of UNHCR-led refugee emergency preparedness and response, UNHCR’s involvement in IDP emergencies, and providing a description of current inter-agency leadership and coordination systems. The Handbook is accessible as a tool for partners in emergency operations and other interested parties.

Commodity distribution (NFIs, food) Entry – In an emergency situation, families often flee with little more than the clothes they are wearing and consequently find themselves displaced without any personal belongings. In addition to food, they urgently need certain non-food items to survive, including items for shelter, cooking, and health and sanitation. In emergencies, various actors may distribute non-food items (NFIs), making it difficult to organize distribution in a manner that is fair and ensures that all needs are met. This Entry describes how to set up, organize and implement the distribution of NFIs and food items.