LWF and UNHCR Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Humanitarian Cooperation

UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Janet Lim (left) and LWF General Secretary Rev Martin Junge signing the MoU. Photo: LWF/ C. Kästner

“Delighted to see the scope for our joint work expand”

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, extending over 50 years of close collaboration in providing assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

 “We are witnessing record levels of forced displacement globally, and this makes it all the more important that we and faith-based organizations work together for the sake of the world’s refugees and internally displaced,” Janet Lim, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner, said. “LWF is a long-standing close partner, and we’re delighted to see the scope for our joint work expand.”

 “This MoU between UNHCR and LWF is not just about our two organizations” LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge emphasized. “It is about a dramatically increasing number of refugees and migrants that require concerted efforts and strategic partnerships as the one we have signed today.”

 “This is a time to show who you stand with” Junge added.  “With this signature the LWF stands with people suffering from persecution, oppression and hunger. The LWF stands with its longstanding vocation to be among those contributing towards peace, justice and reconciliation in this world.”

“Tremendous Commitment to Serving People”

“This strategic partnership identifies us in clear ways as a faith based organization engaged in humanitarian work and adhering to international humanitarian standards. It expresses the expectation that we will work together on how to build on the potentials of faith-based organizations in protecting refugees.  I look forward to exploring together with UNHCR and faith-based actors engaged in the humanitarian field the concrete value we add to humanitarian response in our world today,” said Junge.

Junge referred to the MOU between the LWF and Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) signed in August to cooperate in humanitarian work. It is the first official cooperation between a global Christian and a global Islamic humanitarian organization. 

The LWF and UNHCR will collaborate in coordinating and managing camps and settlements, and in community-managed peace and protection interventions for children and other vulnerable groups.  Additional areas of cooperation include distributing non-food items (NFI), water and sanitation as well as promoting climate justice, environmental protection and sustainable livelihoods.

 “As the LWF, we appreciate the incredible work of the UNHCR and the important operational challenges facing UNHCR in the face of significant humanitarian needs, “ said LWF Humanitarian Coordinator Michael Hyden. “In the face of these changes, UNHCR has shown tremendous commitment to serving people, with increasing emphasis on the principles of partnership at the highest level of the organization. This MoU with the LWF is a test of this commitment.”

The MoU replaces a global Framework Agreement for Operational Partnership signed between the two organizations in December 2000.