- The Permanent Mission
- Greece in the UN-Geneva
Permanent Representative, Ambassador Alexandros Alexandris delivers Greece’s Intervention to the Nansen Initiative Global Consultation (Geneva, 12 October 2015)
“Excellencies, distinguished representatives,
First of all, allow me to commend the governments of Switzerland and Norway for their leadership in this important initiative that is dealing with vital issues that are at the top of the international agenda. Displacement and migration happen to be, at this juncture, in the center of my country's priorities as well.
As you very well know, Greece has been -throughout its history- in the frontline of unprecedented migratory and refugee inflows. Especially since the beginning of this year, these unprecedented inflows reaching 400,000 persons and come in pair with the continuing financial constraints our country is facing. In this crucial context the Greek coast guard has been sparing no effort to save thousands of human lives at sea. For example, the Greek Coast Guard has saved 57,188 lives in search and rescue operations in 1527 incidents between January and September 2015. Although the majority of these people at present are mostly refugees from Syria, over the last decades, Greece has received a significant number of people also coming from places where disasters related to climate change have taken place. The High Commissioner of the UNHCR António Guterres, yesterday during his ongoing visit to Greece, witnessed the improved humanitarian response mounted by Greek local authorities and civil society.
In this context, we greatly appreciate elements and notions such as increased preparedness and solidarity, reducing vulnerability, building resilience, ensuring migration with dignity, planned relocation, reviewing development policies and generally finding lasting solutions, as included in your Agenda for Protection.
We believe that, now more than ever, this forum for dialogue provides us with an excellent opportunity to discuss all the above in a constructive spirit. I can assure you that my country is ready to exchange information on effective practices and to learn from the expertise of all the participants in order to make international cooperation more effective when dealing with the topics of the Protection Agenda.
We also note that Greece was one of the countries that co-sponsored the latest resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change which was adopted during the 29th session.
Finally allow me one last word on the person that inspired this initiative. The Greeks do not forget Fridtjof Nansen's crucial contribution in alleviating the humanitarian drama of tens of thousands of Greek refugees and his leadership in the population exchange scheme of the 1920s which helped over a million Anatolian Greeks, expelled from Turkey, to relocate in Greece with dignity and respect to their cultural ties and traditions.
That is one more reason why we warmly support this initiative and are willing to follow the discussions very closely.