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UNHCR-IMO-P3-Minsk, Belarus

Minsk, Belarus
Position Title: Information Management Officer (Coordination)
Receiving Agency: UNHCR
P Level: P3
Location: Minsk, Belarus
Duration: 3 months
Language: English required. Fluency in Russian is an asset. 
Operational Context
As of 31 December 2021, Belarus was host to 2,729 refugees and asylum seekers2. Out of those, 2,378 refugees3 and 15 asylum-seekers4 were Ukrainian nationals. The other main countries of origin were Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.5 Most citizens of Ukraine had arrived in Belarus as a result of the armed conflict that had erupted in 2014 in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and has continued for the past eight years. 
Almost a year after the onset of the hostilities that commenced on 24 February 2022, the Ukraine crisis remains one of the largest displacement situations in the world today. Ukraine remains designated as an unsafe country of origin by UNHCR6 with some XXX people displaced in Ukraine and some XXX have sought refuge in the main hosting countries as of XX. The original Regional Refugee Response Plan for the Ukraine Situation (RRP) was published in March 2022, revised on 25 April 2022 and ‘recalibrated’ in October 2022. The recalibration of activities in Belarus focused on addressing the needs of refugees prior to the onset of winter, their socio-economic inclusion, and anticipated needs for access to education for children from Ukraine in Belarus and paved the way for the 2023 response. In 2023, the RRP for the Ukraine situation will cover the period from January to December 2023 and will continue to be revised and complemented to adapt the inter-agency response depending on developments in the context and needs. The RRP in Belarus, underpinned by humanitarian principles, will focus on protection7, education, health, basic needs and promoting self-reliance, including through employment and livelihoods as well as systems strengthening. It will target refugees, third-country nationals in need of international protection, and people who are stateless or at risk of statelessness who fled from Ukraine8. The emphasis will be on collective responsibility and contribution to protection9 outcomes by all partners to the RRP.
The Government leads the response to the Ukraine refugee situation in Belarus. The Government of Belarus has experience in responding to refugee crises including the 2014 influx from Ukraine and the recent Ukraine situation, where it has maintained an open-border policy. The Refugee Coordination Model has been implemented with a Refugee Coordination Forum (RCF) led by UNHCR jointly with the Ministry of Interior, to complement Government efforts and is supported by technical coordination forums. The Belarus Red Cross (BRC) is recognized as the main entity for channelling international humanitarian aid delivery and distribution. The multi-sectoral inter-agency response is based on the technical capacities and comparative advantages of the humanitarian and development partners in Belarus in the spirit of the New Way of Working, in support of the Government response.
In 2023, it is expected that Belarus will continue to be a country of asylum and a country of transit for refugees and third country nationals displaced from Ukraine. There are twelve border crossing points (BCP) on the Belarus-Ukraine border10 and all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted at border crossing points with Ukraine and no PCR test is needed to enter Belarus for those seeking protection. As of 22 November 2022, there were 68,864 instances of border crossings to enter Belarus with 15,890 people having crossed directly from Ukraine11, including 244 third-country nationals12. Since the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions in mid-April 2022, very few refugees displaced from Ukraine have been able to arrive directly from the Ukrainian territory as the border has remained closed on the Ukrainian side, including with reinforced closures at BCPs and fencing and landmines along the border areas. 

Most refugees displaced from Ukraine arrive through EU countries including 40,693 through Poland, 8,623 through Lithuania and 1,658 through Latvia, as of 22 November 202213 It is understood that a significant number of refugees also arrive from/transit through the Russian Federation. However, Belarusian authorities do not record and/or maintain data on the number of refugees from Ukraine who travel to or depart Belarus via the Russian Federation. The 2010 Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Belarus and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine “On visa-free travels of citizens” (2010 Agreement) entitles citizens of Ukraine to enter the territory of Belarus without visas. The Agreement also entitles citizens of Ukraine to legally stay in Belarus for up to three-months, but with the obligation to register within 30 days from the date of arrival / border crossing. However, every citizen of Ukraine who enters Belarus is automatically considered as an individual holding a temporary stay permit for up to three-months (PTS)14. Upon arriving in Belarus not all Ukrainians decide to formally register due to uncertainty, dual Russian Federation and Ukraine citizenship, and concern of potential repercussions upon returning to Ukraine. As of 22 November 2022, approximately 16,965 citizens of Ukraine that entered after 24 February 2022 were estimated to remain in Belarus; being 9,008 citizens of Ukraine registered with the Ministry of Interior and remaining in the country, 1,792 had applied for permanent residence permits (PPR) and 4,049 for temporary residence for up to 1-year term (PTR). Further, between 24 February and 22 November 2022, 2,11615 citizens of Ukraine formally applied for asylum. As of late November, the majority of Ukrainians in Belarus resided in urban and peri-urban areas of Minsk City followed by Brest, Gomel, Minsk Region, Mogilev, and Grodno16 relying on national public services that are largely available to them.
With the conflict continuing unabated, it is expected that Belarus will continue to be impacted with refugee flows in 2023 including an increased number of new arrivals in the case of any significant escalation of hostilities, as well as the onset of winter coupled with the partially destroyed and damaged energy system and limited access to fuel and adequate shelter in Ukraine and finally the increasing energy costs in EU countries. Therefore, the RRP partners also remain prepared for a potential increase in new arrivals as the crisis in Ukraine unfolds in an unpredictable manner.  
While most respondents surveyed in UNHCR’s Protection Monitoring and Profiling exercise hoped to return home one day, nearly half of respondents intended to remain in Belarus for the near future, 12%17 intended to return to Ukraine but were unsure when it may be possible and 16% wanted to travel on, while the remaining nearly one third remained uncertain. Refugees displaced from Ukraine staying in Belarus have family ties and social relations within the Ukrainian diaspora, as well as shared language and historical ties between Ukraine and Belarus. Unlike other countries in the region hosting refugees displaced from Ukraine, Belarus hosts a proportionately larger percentage of elderly people: with almost 22% of the refugee population 60+ years old.18
The 2021 economic sanctions imposed on Belarus have come into force and new ones were enacted in response to Russia’s military actions, where several rounds of packaged sanctions19 were imposed on the Russian Federation and Belarus, due to the close political and economic ties between the two countries. As S&P20 decreased the country’s Eurobond rating to ‘default’, Belarus is limited in its borrowing possibilities. The socio-economic development forecast of the country for 2023: GDP growth +3.8% after the -4,7% decrease in 2022, inflation 7-8% in 2023 (15,2% in 2022), nominal households income growth +4.1%.21 The increase in consumer prices, coupled with real disposable income decline (-4%), leads to risks for the vulnerable population such as large families, single carer/parent households and people without higher education to face the greatest to fall into poverty.  According to trends from previous crises, the conflict in Ukraine is estimated to increase poverty for children in Belarus by 1.3 percentage points (or approximately 126 thousand families). Inflation is affecting Belarusians’ real incomes and it is especially visible for pensioners who receive nominally fixed payments and rarely updated pensions. (e.g., they decreased by 3.6 per cent in July 2021 relative to the same month the year before). Similarly, for families with children which are affected by rising food prices which the Government policies to freeze prices aims to address. The additional effect on Belarus may become visible in 2023 and onwards and is expected to compound pre-existing marginalization, inequalities, and vulnerabilities or create new vulnerable groups.
On 14 September 2022, the Government amended the Presidential Edict No. 420 dated 30 August 2014, On stay of citizens of Ukraine in the Republic of Belarus. This legislative act is now named the Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus dated 30 August 2014 No. 420 About persons who arrived in the Republic of Belarus (edition dated 14 September 2022 No. 326). The Edict No. 420 is now applicable to citizens of Ukraine (irrespective of the region of habitation in Ukraine before arrival) and stateless persons from Ukraine “who arrived in the Republic of Belarus to obtain permits for temporary or permanent residence”.22 It provides favourable regulations in relation to, inter alia, access to medical treatment, pre-school and secondary education (all – on par with citizens); exemptions from payment of state duties (one time) for receipt of permits for permanent residence (PPR), permits for temporary residence (PTR), permanent residence documents (PRD), special work permits (for employers who are hiring Ukrainians); allows to assign pensions without confirmation of non-receipt of pensions in Ukraine (available only to people with PPR in Belarus), as well as to assign state allowances to families taking care of children, allowances associated with temporary disability without confirmation of non-receipt of the same allowances in Ukraine23.
Recognizing the fragile and uncertain situation in Ukraine, inter-agency partners will continue to strengthen the response in Belarus, supporting Government-led efforts and inclusion in national systems, in line with international humanitarian principles and the guiding principles of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). Legal advice, employment, accommodation, information about services, and education are prioritised needs highlighted by refugees from Ukraine24. This plan will address gaps in areas of need, including protection including assistance to return for TCNs from Ukraine, health, education, basic needs, which incorporate accommodation, hygiene, non-food and food items, livelihoods and self-reliance (promoting social and economic inclusion and social cohesion). Taking into account the protracted nature of the displacement crisis and intention of many refugees to stay in Belarus in the medium- and long-term, partners will work towards ensuring that people are aware of and are able to realize their rights, have access to services and are able to contribute / benefit to/from the economy. The inter-agency response will strengthen capacities of national counterparts to ensure the provision of services for refugees and host communities/population leveraging a multi-stakeholder approach. The number of people fleeing from Ukraine to Belarus is relatively small compared to other neighbouring countries. However, the inter-agency partners will ensure contingency planning and preparedness for a potential increase in arrival numbers, to assist refugees and TCNs and or may decide to return from EU countries and remain in Belarus.
 
Aim of the Mission
  • Support the operation with information management activities and build capacity of new national information management staff.
 
Mission OBJECTIVES

Support interagency refugee response in Belarus; and
Build capacity of national appointed staff
 
Responsibilities
Under the supervision of Donna Corcoran, the Inter-Agency Coordination Officer will:
 
  • Support the implementation of the Regional Refugee Response Plan for Belarus including the monitoring and reporting framework
  • Support the implementation of the UNHCR led 2023 protection monitoring and profiling exercise, including working closely with colleagues in the operation to establish a protection referral mechanism and to coordinate with agencies and organisations on data related issues under a data sharing agreement.
  • Support preparation the of interagency and UNHCR specific information management products using PowerBi and approved visualization products.
  • Coordinate the information management working group and planned MSNA assessment.
 
PROFILE

Experience and Essential Requirements
  • Experience with Kobo, Activity Info, PowerBi, ArcGIS, and Adobe Illustrator.
  • Knowledge of the UN system and the humanitarian community or experience with the UN.
  • Experience with designing data collection tools, data cleaning, data analysis and narrative development, data visualisation
  • Experience with handling confidential data and demonstrated understanding of different data collection methodologies.
  • Proven skills to analyse statistical and geographic information.
  • Advanced Excel skills (e.g. queries, pivot tables, functions etc.)
  • Ability to formulate IM-related technical requirements and Operating Procedures to be able to communicate to non-technical audiences.
  • Experience with monitoring and results based frameworks.

Personal Characteristics
  • Flexible, pragmatic, and able to work independently or in a small team towards objectives.

 
CANADEM and its partners have a no-tolerance policy towards Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA). For this reason, we adhere to all policies, procedures and training of the United Nations on The Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA). CANADEM mandates all deployees successfully complete the PSEA online course. This e-learning course is composed of a set of lessons designed to raise awareness about SEA, become familiar with a range of measures to combat SEA, understand the impact on victims and the consequences for UN Personnel who commit Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

 

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