Text Size:
Updated On: Monday, 24 September 2018

Concluding Segment, Economic and Social Council Adopts Text on Strengthening Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance

Content by: UN General Assembly

Concluding its humanitarian affairs segment, the Economic and Social Council today adopted a resolution on improving emergency response, stressing that the United Nations could better coordinate the protection of civilians, including women and children, persons with disabilities, the wounded, sick and displaced.

By the terms of the text titled “Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations” (document E/2018/L.14), the Council underscored that it was critically important for civilians, particularly women and children, to be protected from abuse or exploitation, including trafficking in persons.  It further called on Member States to take steps to ensure the international protection of refugees, urging countries to also ensure the protection of the wounded, and the safety of medical and humanitarian personnel.

The Council urged Member States and the United Nations to involve persons with disabilities in all processes, consultations and stages of decision-making in humanitarian preparedness.  Further, it urged Member States to ensure reliable and safe access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and for countries to continue to investigate and prosecute acts of sexual and gender-based violence.  It urged States to continue to seek to prevent, respond to, investigate and prosecute violations and abuses against children in humanitarian emergencies.

Calling on all Member States and parties to comply with the provisions of international humanitarian law, the Council urged efforts to enhance cooperation and coordination of United Nations humanitarian entities, other relevant humanitarian organizations and donor countries with the affected States.  It stressed the need to enhance resource mobilization efforts to address increasing capacity and resource gaps, including through exploring innovative mechanisms.

Discussing the text, Member States stressed that the protection of civilians and respect of international humanitarian law remained more vital than ever, as they emphasized the need for impactful and ambitious political solutions to global crises and conflicts.  They also urged the need to provide protection to the most vulnerable in society and ensure that humanitarian personnel could reach them.

Brazil’s representative stressed that “leaving no one behind” was a global responsibility, emphasizing that humanitarian emergencies must be dealt in a humane and dignified manner.  “They need our help and support to ensure respect for their rights wherever they go,” he added, referring to the millions of displaced refugees and migrants people worldwide.

Several delegations welcomed the resolution’s emphasis on children and persons with disabilities, with Spain’s representative commending such inclusions while expressing regret that consensus could not be reached on sexual reproductive rights of women.  Echoing a similar sentiment, Canada’s delegate, also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, expressed regret that previously agreed language on access to sexual and reproductive health was not included in the text.

The representative of the United States, disassociating with aspects of the resolution, said her Government did not recognize abortion as an element of family planning.  She said the United States would seek to work to find consensus on new terminology.  Nigeria’s delegate said it was essential to avoid being overambitious in a manner that was too divisive, referencing attempts to include language on abortion and access to abortion.

Syria’s representative expressed concern that the text was unbalanced, hardly mentioned sustainable development and the need to fight poverty, and also had failed to include terrorism as one of the causes of humanitarian crises.  The text was overly politicized.

Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that hope, ambition and compassion for all people around the world was needed.  The failure to protect civilians had resulted in people not having enough to eat.  Humanitarian workers were being denied the ability to carry out their work.  Armed conflict pulled children away from their families, and today’s crises required additional joint work that could develop long-term solutions.

Council Chair Jerry Matthews Matjila (South Africa) said that several themes had emerged during the segment’s discussions, including that the protection needs of children were not being sufficiently addressed.  “We have to mobilize political action to stop the brutality inflicted on our children,” he added.  Further, he called for better solutions to counter the growing impact of disaster and climate‑related humanitarian crises.  To prepare, a shift from managing to mitigating and managing risk was essential.  On humanitarian assistance, he urged strengthening local capacities and resilience, stressing the vital role of local communities.

Also delivering statements were the representatives of the Russian Federation, China, Morocco, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Switzerland, Egypt (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Bulgaria (on behalf of the European Union), Uruguay, Hungary and Sudan.

An observer for the Holy See also delivered a statement, as did representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Earlier in the day, the Council held a panel discussion titled “Strengthening local capabilities for sustainable outcomes and local resilience — contribution of humanitarian action”.  Moderated by Ursula Mueller, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, it featured the following speakers:  Nilab Mobarez, Secretary General of the Afghan Red Crescent; Monique Pariat, Director General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, European Commission; Dineo Mathlako, Head of Operations, Department for International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa; and Morika Hunter, Chair, Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council.

Participating in that discussion were the representatives of Switzerland, China, Japan, Australia and the United States.  Several members of civil society also spoke.

Panel Discussion

In the morning, the Economic and Social Council held a panel discussion on the theme “Strengthening local capabilities for sustainable outcomes and local resilience — contribution of humanitarian action”.  Moderated by Urusal Mueller, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, it featured the following speakers:  Nilab Mobarez, Secretary General of the Afghan Red Crescent; Monique Pariat, Director-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, European Commission; Dineo Mathlako, Head of Operations, Department for International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa; and Morika Hunter, Chair, Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council.

JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, delivering opening remarks, said that over the past decades, national Governments, local non-governmental organizations, the private sector and regional organizations had significantly improved their ability to prepare and respond to crises.  Nevertheless, the international humanitarian response system had not always been able to keep pace and exercise sufficient flexibility to adapt its mechanisms and funding.  There should be a good understanding of existing response capacity and critical gaps, he said, as well as predictable and sustainable technical cooperation, guidance and expertise.  International humanitarian actors should also reconsider short-term projects and shift to a model that would build and strengthen national and local response capacity over several years.

Ms. MUELLER recalled that more than 400 commitments were made to localization at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.  Today, she noted, more international partners were moving to a more collaborative approach while United Nations agencies had increased the visibility of local partners.  The voice of international non-governmental organizations was being heard, she added.  The panel would discuss efforts to reduce vulnerability and build resilience, starting at the local level, with international efforts strengthening, not replacing, local humanitarian action.  It would also highlight lessons learned from current practices as well as way to improve assistance in different local contexts.

Ms. MOBAREZ said her organization, founded 80 years ago, was among the oldest in Afghanistan.  Its local roots and impartiality were key to its work — a challenge in a country with more than 20 non-State armed groups.  Through its local networks, the Afghan Red Crescent negotiated with all actors with the aim of alleviating human suffering, regardless of location.  Its volunteers recovered battlefield casualties, a third of which came from Government forces, she said.  The Afghan Red Crescent also carried out polio vaccination campaigns and deployed 40 mobile clinics.  Aware of its shortcomings and strengths, it did not hesitate to turn to external partners and donors, she added, citing, for example, $5 million over five years from the Government of India, as well as Islamic funding.  Despite 40 years of conflict, Afghans were eager to show their country in a different light, including through a cricket team that was among the world’s 10 best.  She also noted a three-day ceasefire during the recent Eid festival, saying some Afghan soldiers took pictures with Taliban combatants who laid down their weapons at the gates of Kabul before entering the city.

Ms. PARIAT, describing localization as a collective process, emphasized the importance of dialogue with stakeholders and on addressing issues of trust and transparency to have a clear view of how money was being used, given the difficulty of working with so many local-level groups.  Strengthening international structures, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, was also critical.  She cited the response to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti as an example of pre- and post-disaster preparedness and a participatory approach stemming from years of international support.  To meet donor requirements while diversifying funding sources, she said it would be necessary to review the current transactional nature of the humanitarian system and find long-term solutions, particularly in the areas of water, building resilience and absorbing shocks.  Donors would also have to better integrate local needs into their planning.

Ms. MATHLAKO said humanitarian assistance was part of a comprehensive effort to promote democracy, good governance, socioeconomic development, humanitarian resources and post-conflict recovery.  Projects had been completed in Lesotho and Swaziland, in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), to help women and children following a food crisis in 2012 and after the El Niño episode in 2016.  Small local South African farmers received training in their communities to help neighbouring countries, while small businesses in disadvantaged communities had been selected to transform maize at WFP quality standards.  It was through real partnerships that South Africa could help affected populations in the beneficiary countries, said Ms. Mathlako, whose department worked with the Red Crescent in Western Sahara and with faith-based groups in South Sudan which were helping internally displaced persons living outside camps.

Ms. HUNTERM said her Fiji-based organization had become a resilience network for the Pacific region.  It was developed by the private sector and Government in 2016 after Cyclone Winston ravaged the archipelago nation.  Support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs enabled it to have a platform to move forward together, anticipate disasters and map out capabilities through a unified approach.  She explained that the Business Disaster Resilience Council included companies that were vulnerable links in multinational supply chains which also played vital roles in their communities.  It included insurance companies and commercial banks, and worked in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development and regional telecommunications providers.  The Council’s work extended to Tonga, Vanuatu and Samoa, she said, helping business understand local traditions and values while building trust with communities.

When the floor opened for discussion, the representative of Switzerland underscored the need to invest in a change of culture, with adherence to management and fiduciary principles and beyond.

The representative of China, noting the number of natural hazards which had affected his country, drew attention to a comprehensive national plan for disaster prevention and risk mitigation that had been enacted, covering the period to 2020.  Key to that approach was the support of all society, he stated.

The representative of Action Aid said that during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, access to funding, information and education were challenges that needed to be addressed.  She called for more direct funding to local actors working in the field.

The representative of Japan emphasized direct communication with local non‑governmental organizations.

The representative of Australia described business continuity as a motivating factor, helping to attract private sector interest in disaster prevention.  For the long term, effective partners needed to be identified.

The representative of the United States said more work must be done in risk transfer.

The representative of Care International expressed interest in ways to find partnerships with women’s organizations.  Responding, Ms. MOBAREZ said the Afghan Red Crescent brought together women’s groups and advocates, creating shelters for war widows and educating orphans.  She added that it was the only institution in Afghanistan offering care to women affected by psychiatric illnesses.

The representative of the World Food Programme described how mobile telephones could be used to collect data on risk assessment.  In an ideal world, humanitarian action should happen at the local level, he said.

Ms. PARIAT acknowledged that partnership involved taking risks — a challenge that would require greater transparency to foster trust.  Noting that development financing was more predictable than humanitarian funding, she said that gap must be bridged by working more closely with development actors.  In response to another question, she suggested making “invisible people” — such as children out of school or people living with disabilities — more visible as a priority.

Ms. MATHLAKO described working in partnership with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN-Women), involving women at the local level — including farmers — to prepare meals for vulnerable children.  It also worked with contractors in Namibia to dig wells, developing local project management capacity.

Mr. MATJILA, in closing remarks, praised regional integration efforts in developing countries, as well as those organizations working to create greater resilience in conflict zones or areas affected by natural hazards.  More could be done to leverage the private sector, he said, adding that the United Nations should create a system for collecting surplus materials from the food, automotive and other industries that could be used in times of need.

Statements

MARÍA BASSOLS DELGADO (Spain), associating herself with the European Union, said that the protection of civilians and respect of international humanitarian law was a significant priority for her Government.  Spain was focusing on the provision of medical care in conflict regions, and ensuring a substantive reduction of attacks on medical staff.  In addition to a humanitarian solution to myriad international crises, there must also be a political one that was ambitious and impactful.  Spain could not overlook the major competition for humanitarian funds, she said, stressing the need for the international community to agree on a consensus on how to deal with overlooked crises.  She regretted that it was not possible to reach an agreement in the text on sexual and reproduction health.  The resolution should be able to mention the specific needs of women and children.  She welcomed the new points in the 2018 resolution specifically pertaining to sexual violence, children and the most vulnerable.  It was important to move towards a global humanitarian agenda that fully respected human rights.

FREDERICO S. DUQUE ESTRADA MEYER (Brazil) said “leaving no one behind” was a global responsibility, stressing that humanitarian emergencies must be dealt with in a humane and dignified manner.  “They need our help and support to ensure respect for their rights wherever they go,” he said, referring to the millions of displaced people worldwide.  He commended the efforts of Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in supporting national plans, adding that Brazil continued to offer humanitarian visas to those displaced by the Syria civil war.  Brazil also provided humanitarian and medical supplies.  The only way, however, to reduce humanitarian need was to work towards a lasting political solution to conflict and crises.  Turning to the dangers posed by hurricanes, droughts and other natural hazards, he welcomed emphasis on resilience-building and quick, flexible responses to emergencies.  He welcomed the new emphasis on children and people with disabilities in the text.  He also added that local and regional initiatives helped countries support local markets and respond to crisis in a timely manner.

SERGEY B. KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation) said there had been an increase in natural hazards, industrial accidents and armed conflicts around the world that required international coordination.  It was a priority that the resolution of conflicts should remain a cornerstone for United Nations responses to humanitarian situations.  States should play a leading role in the coordination of humanitarian responses.  Governments had a capacity that was unmatched by other entities.  The sovereignty of the host country should be respected.  In the last 20 years, there was an acute problem increasingly created by the absence of food security.  The donor community should provide additional assistance.  Harmony and timely joint action needed to be ensured.  The prevention of conflicts would help reduce the need for humanitarian assistance by achieving peace.  It was necessary to end conflicts and support international dialogue.  The Russian Federation was an active participant in that area.

LUO JIN (China), associating himself with “Group of 77” developing countries, said that, in 2017, natural hazards, armed conflicts and protracted crises kept the global level of humanitarian needs increasing.  There were more challenges for developing economies.  It was necessary to strengthen international coordination.  Urgent action was needed, and China attached great importance to finding solutions.  A timely response to the needs of the recipient countries was necessary.  In line with the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolution 46/182, humanitarian assistance had to be provided with respect for sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and the national unity of the recipient countries.  Peace was only sustainable if grounded in development.  It was necessary to scale up assistance and lay a foundation for the transition from disaster relief to development.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said humanitarian emergencies fuelled by conflict and natural hazards had led to worrying developments, calling on Governments, civil society and the private sector to join forces to deal with the crises.  Verified, updated data and its exchange between Member States and humanitarian actors must be utilized to reduce the suffering of populations.  He condemned the manipulation for political means of vulnerable populations, particularly women and children.  Humanitarian actors must be able to reach those in need, he stressed.  Aid currently available was below what was needed, he added, emphasizing that the effectiveness of humanitarian aid was largely dependent on aid reaching vulnerable communities.  Host countries and humanitarian actors had the primary responsibility to avoid aid misappropriation, which was a serious violation of international law.  He strongly condemned attacks carried out against humanitarian staff, recalling that the international community had a collective duty to ensure their safety.

AMMAR AWAD (Syria), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that the draft resolution was not balanced and unfortunately was in line with the interventionist policies of some countries.  Those nations continued to politicize humanitarian crises.  The draft resolution did not focus on operational elements.  Some countries had tried to include controversial issues, such as protection and non-consensual issues agreed to only by some Member States.  The text barely touched on sustainable development, technology transfer and the need to fight poverty and achieve food security.  The draft also did not consider terrorism as one of the causes of humanitarian crises.  Terrorism remained a culprit of crises, including in his country.  Noting that unilateral measures were contrary to human rights and the United Nations Charter, he said that some countries, enjoying great economic and political leverage, continued to interfere in the internal affairs of other Member States.

KELLEY CURRIE (United States) said humanitarian needs were increasing around the world at an alarming rate.  There were more than 68 million people whom had been forcibly displaced around the world.  The United States would continue to provide help in areas of conflict, such as Syria, or in situations of natural disaster.  It would continue to champion access to education for people displaced during those times.  As the situations increased, it was necessary to create new solutions and provide recovery.  In fiscal year 2017, the United States had provided more than $8 billion in humanitarian assistance.  Financial assistance could not fill the gap.  Other countries and entities needed to provide their fair share.  New efforts were necessary to create effective strategies to press Governments and other parties to end armed conflicts. The United States supported efforts that would provide long-term solutions that prevented conflicts and would reduce the need for humanitarian assistance.

FAIYAZ KAZI (Bangladesh), associating himself with the of the Group of 77, said humanitarian responses had to be timelier.  Sustainable development was the most prescriptive way to prevent the need for humanitarian responses.  The work used to help countries shift from emergency response to development needed to be strengthened.  Bangladesh acknowledged the need for women to be included as first responders to sites needing humanitarian relief.  Bangladesh was against the use of starvation in times of conflict.  Turning to the displacement of the Rohingya from Myanmar, he said Bangladesh was hosting more than 1 million displaced people and the camp was among the largest refugee camps in the world.  Bangladesh would continue to seek international assistance on that issue.

HESSA MUNEER MOHAMMED RASHED ALATEIBI (United Arab Emirates), associating herself with the Group of 77, called for the better use of tools whose aim was to identify the challenges faced by persons with disabilities.  She noted various successful national efforts in that regard.  Turning to disaster relief, she welcomed the use of scientific forecasts of weather events to help mitigate risk, build resilience in advance and help emergency personnel prepare.  The United Arab Emirates had seen its contribution to the Yemeni humanitarian plan reach the needs of the most vulnerable people, including women and children.  That could be used as a blueprint that puts focus on effected populations.  It could also be used by the United Nations humanitarian system to effectively reach the most vulnerable.

YASHER ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said internal displacement posed a serious challenge and remained a major obstacle of concerned countries focusing on meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  International attention paid to internal displacement remained insufficient.  It was essential to prevent conflict, and ensure the protection of civilians.  Azerbaijan was faced with an internal displacement crisis.  Resources had been allocated to meet the needs of those displaced and new housing had been built for thousands of people.  Poverty and unemployment had fallen among the displaced.  He reaffirmed the will of his Government to ensure that displaced persons could return to their respective homes safely.

ANAT FISHER-TSIN (Israel) said 2018 was proving to be another year of conflicts and devastating natural hazards which required humanitarian assistance and emergency responses.  Israel was always at the forefront of providing emergency responses and humanitarian assistance.  Israeli specialists, for example, had arrived in Guatemala, after the recent earthquake to provide medical assistance.  A community’s ability to return to normal was based on the strength of its resilience.  Resilience had to be developed in countries so they could survive disasters.  The international community had to work together to ensure that no one would be left behind.

ABDALLAH Y. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia) said it had always been able to come to the assistance of people and humanitarian response was at the heart of his nation’s principles.  It was necessary to strengthen the humanitarian response for children, in particular.  For example, it was helping to integrate child soldiers in Yemen and was contributing to the United Nations international response plan to that country.  It had launched an international humanitarian response plan for Yemen.  It was a key partner in international development and humanitarian assistance was an integral part of its international policy.  His country was dedicated to providing responses without any discrimination.  It had confidence in the international efforts.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) said that it was essential for the international community to reaffirm the principles of humanitarian assistance.  Among the major lessons of the past several years was that prevention could help avoid suffering, forced displacement and even the death of millions of people affected by crisis.  He called on the United Nations and its specialized agencies to continue to provide support and resources to countries affected by crises.  Further, he emphasized the important role of the Sendai Framework and other international instruments that aimed at assisting countries in post-conflict.  Member States and civil society organizations must join forces to reduce the needs of the most vulnerable countries.  “We must ensure that we leave nobody behind,” he added.

ASHRAF EL-NOUR of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said migrants and displaced persons were among the most vulnerable populations.  Reducing their risk and putting them in charge of determining their needs remained critical.  The current number of the displaced was more than anything the international community had dealt with.  Refugees and migrants were often among the worst affected by disasters.  “They are more exposed”, and less able to cope with recovery, he added.  He reaffirmed his organization’s commitment to mitigate the risks facing displaced people.   Much more needed to be done, he continued, calling for a holistic approach and emphasizing that no one country on its own could deal with the displacement crisis.  Migrants and refugees must be empowered to be a part of their own solutions.

LIANA GHUKASYAN of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said her organization welcomed the Council’s recommendation that early warning and action efforts, including through innovative financing mechanisms, be strengthened.  It also welcomed recognition of the important role of young people in humanitarian response.  She went on to emphasize the empowerment of local actors, who were in a strong position to link preparedness, response, recovery and long-term development together.  If humanitarian action was to remain relevant, a culture of localized humanitarian action had to be painstakingly created.

PHILIP SPOERRI of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said key actors had to come together in search of practical solutions to humanitarian crises.  The Committee called on all parties to make their contributions.  He said there was an increase in displaced persons in urban areas and those people had special needs.  They were especially vulnerable as they had lost their way of life.  Significant improvements were necessary in ways to providing humanitarian assistance.  It was necessary to provide a holistic approach that included everyone from donors to businesses.  Turning to counter-terrorism measures, the Committee stressed the need for humanitarian agencies to be able to provide assist in those situations.

FATIMA KHAN of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that more had to be done to address the spread of communicable diseases, adding that the world faced serious challenges in that area.  On health care, she said there was a need for momentum and action to address the many attacks on health-care delivery.  Some 242 people had died in attacks in that area, she continued, calling on Member States to raise their voices to end such attacks.  Health-care workers must be able to carry out their work.

DANIEL SEYMOUR of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) said that the 2030 Agenda had recognized the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.  He emphasized the importance of all actors working together to prevent crisis and reduce risk.  In keeping with commitment on gender equality, it was essential that the discussions on humanitarian aid adequately considered and addressed the diverse needs of those affected by crisis, specifically women and girls.  The provision of services must also focus on offering viable long-term solutions.  He also urged the need to focus on empowering women and girls.

AGNES MARCAILLOLI of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said that its programmes were delivered in some of the most complex conflict environments, from Mosul to Mogadishu, from Benghazi to Bentiu.  For example, it had developed gender-sensitive risk education campaigns in South Sudan to reduce the vulnerability of women navigating explosive hazard contamination that impacted their access to water sources and firewood.  Humanitarian mine action was not a concept.  For millions of girls, boys, men and women living in contaminated communities around the world, it was an everyday danger and affected their daily decisions on how to go to school, the office or the market.  He asked the international community to consider humanitarian mine action at the earliest stage of planning humanitarian responses in conflict-affected settings.

SEGOLENE ADAM of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said there were increasingly complex situations around the world that required humanitarian assistance.  UNICEF was making an urgent call for the protection of children.  There were numerous urgent issues that required assistance, such as the high recruitment of children as soldiers.  Those practices had to stop.  The Fund called for zero tolerance on attacks of people providing humanitarian aid and medical assistance.  Such attacks were impeding the ability of responders to provide help.  She called for the strengthening of collective efforts.  UNICEF called for zero tolerance for sexual violence and the abuse of boys and girls.  The protection of the victims during investigations had to be ensured.

Action

The representative of Switzerland requested an oral revision to include in the text the word “Ecuador” in the reference to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Conference.

The representative of the United States, in explanation of position, said that, in light of the scale of need, the resolution should contribute to improving the international humanitarian system.  However, the overall value of the text would be diminished if its content failed to address the world’s most pressing issues.  She expressed concern that some countries continued to pursue agendas where there was little to no international consensus.  Conflict and access constraints, rather than climate change and commodity prices, were drivers of crises.  She disassociated from several paragraphs, including paragraphs 13 and 20 which the United States did not agree with.  Her Government did not recognize abortion as an element of family planning and did not agree with the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health language in the text.  Moving forward, the United States would seek to work to find consensus on new terminology.  She also did not agree with language in preambular paragraph 29, noting that the United States would still remain engaged in talks on the global compact on refugees.

The Council then adopted the resolution as orally revised.

The representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said it was delighted that the resolution had been adopted.  His Group had worked alongside all delegations carrying out negotiations and it was a step forward for the most vulnerable categories of civilians.  The Group was concerned that support for all measures ensured geographical balance, and called for more contributions for funding.

The representative of Bulgaria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the adoption of the resolution.  The discussions mentioned that one of the root causes of humanitarian needs was conflict.  Yet, the resolution did not mention conflict as the main driver of humanitarian crises.  The Union was dissatisfied that previous language pertaining to measures concerning access to sexual and reproductive health was not maintained.

The representative of Canada, also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said the resolution strengthened language on many topics.  But, previously agreed language on access to sexual and reproductive health was not included.  Canada was committed to promote measures to provide access to sexual and reproductive health.

The observer for the Holy See said consensus was important and that it had always raised its voice for people caught in humanitarian conflicts.  It was important to provide education and address the needs of people with disabilities during humanitarian crises.  Its reservations affecting access to sexual and reproductive health and health-care services were concerned with abortion, or access to it.

The representative of Uruguay said that it was regrettable that Member States had failed to reach consensus on important elements, including on sexual and reproductive rights.  She expressed concern over the difficulties in achieving consensus regarding access to sexual and reproductive health.

The representative of the Russian Federation said it was regrettable that his colleague was unable to deliver his full statement, suggesting that Member States be allotted more time to speak.

The representative of Nigeria, associating himself with the Group of 77, said it was essential to better coordinate humanitarian relief, welcoming the progress made regarding the text.  He welcomed the language on displaced persons, children’s education and vulnerable populations.  However, he said, it was essential to avoid being overambitious in language that was too divisive, referencing the language on abortion and access to abortion.

The representative of Hungary, associating himself with the European Union, said that migration and its consequences posed a major security challenge.  Every human being had the right to live in peace and safety in his or her homeland.  If that was not possible, the international community must address the challenges encouraging migration and movement.  He disassociated with parts of the resolution which referred to proving assistance regardless of citizenship.

The representative of Sudan said he did not want to manipulate the text to introduce the abortion agenda.  As a country that hosted refugees from many places around the world, it stood ready to collaborate to address on the issue.

MARK LOWCOCK, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said hope, ambition and compassion for all people around the world was needed.  The failure to protect civilians had resulted in people not having enough to eat.  Humanitarian workers were being denied the ability to carry out their work.  Armed conflict pulled children away from their families.  The education needs of children, especially girls, needed to be addressed.  Today’s crises required additional joint work that could develop long-term solutions.

Mr. MATJILA (South Africa), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, in closing remarks said that several themes had emerged during the segment’s discussions, including that children were amongst the most vulnerable and required assistance.  Millions of them had been forcibly uprooted from their homes and were threated daily with violence and exploitation.  Millions were undernourished or faced severe food insecurity and famine.  The discussions underscored that the protection needs of children were not being insufficiently addressed, he noted, urging the international community to remain smart about the types of responses it geared towards children.  “We have to mobilize political action to stop the brutality inflicted on our children,” he continued, calling for additional investment in quality education.

Further, he called for better solutions to counter the growing impact of disaster and climate-related humanitarian crises, underscoring that natural hazards regularly affected more than 100 million people each year.  All regions experienced devastating disasters in 2017.  To prepare, a shift from managing to mitigating and managing risk was essential.  Turning to humanitarian assistance, he urged strengthening local capacities and resilience, stressing the vital role of local communities.  Best practices from emergency response in urban areas had demonstrated how working with local authorities to develop local solutions improved aid delivery.  He also urged the need to continue discussions, as well as turning such conversations into concrete action.

GET CONNECTED WITH US

Subscribe to our newsletter