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New Year Message from UNHCR Central Asia.

January 2017, Almaty.

 UNHCR’s strategy in Central Asia <2016-2018> aims at: 1) Strengthening the national asylum systems; 2) Achieving solutions for the refugees in the region; and 3) Reducing and preventing statelessness in the future.

 In recent years, through the established regional consultative platform (the Almaty Process), together with the state authorities, the partner agencies and donors, “Refugee Status Determination” procedures have improved their effectiveness, and the “Regional Guidelines on how to identify and refer refugees and asylum seekers at the borders of Central Asia” have been finalized and published, application of the guidelines in the field being the next step. As part of the global “I Belong” Campaign to end statelessness by 2024, over 18,000 stateless persons obtained nationalities in the recent years. Practical lessons learnt workshops on how to end statelessness continue. In addition, with the support of the Geneva HQs, UNHCR maintains a capacity to respond on critical protection issues and a core presence that could be expanded quickly in the event of a refugee or IDP emergency. Emergency preparedness workshops were convened in the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan.

 The global refugee and migration trends, over 60 million people of concern to UNHCR in the world, pose a wide variety of challenges to the local economy, security and humanitarian space. In order to protect and assist the most vulnerable in a holistic manner, UNHCR Central Asia envisages a move to a greater degree of advocacy, partnership with the local authorities, with national and international organizations, private sector actors, academic and education institutions, and pursues the Sustainable Development Goals as a member of the United Nations Country Team – so that “no one is left behind”.

 UNHCR Regional Office for Central Asia is located in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and coordinates its mandate activities in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

 Building on the solid achievements during the recent years, sincerely hope that 2017 will be a year of further progress in the field, with greater engagement of vulnerable persons.

 Yasuko Oda*

UNHCR Regional Representative/Regional Coordinator for Central Asia



Current function since August 2016. Joined the UN Refugee Agency in 1992 as an Associate Programme Officer in Zambia, subsequent assignments in Mozambique, Ethiopia, Montenegro, Pakistan, and Geneva HQs in the Division of External Relations, the Bureau for Middle East (Iraq Support Unit), and the Division of Human Resources Management. Other professional experiences include the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in Tokyo and Brazil, the WFP (World Food Programme) in Iraq, the Government of Malawi as JOCV (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers), and private sector in Japan. Bachelor of Arts (Law) in Japan, Master of Science (Econ.) in UK, and Master of Arts (International Affairs) in USA.