Commemorating the Refugee and Statelessness Conventions and the birth of Fridtjof Nansen
On 14 December 2010, UNHCR celebrated its 60th birthday, kicking off a year of key anniversaries. 2011 marked the 60th anniversary of the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (July 28) and the 50th anniversary of the1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (August 30). In addition, 10 October 2011 was the 150th anniversary of the birth of Fridtjof Nansen, the first League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a late Norwegian polar explorer, diplomat and politician.
The year of commemorations culminated in a ministerial-level meeting of all Member States of the United Nations in Geneva on 7-8 December 2011. This important gathering gave states the opportunity to formalize their accession to the Refugee and Statelessness Conventions and/or remove any reservations to these instruments. The ministerial meeting also provided them with the opportunity to make concrete pledges of commitment to address specific issues in forced displacement and statelessness, as well as make broader, forward-looking recommendations.