Remarks to the General Assembly: 45th Plenary Meeting, Strengthening the Coordination of UN Humanitarian and Disaster Relief

Remarks to the General Assembly: 45th Plenary Meeting, Strengthening the Coordination of UN Humanitarian and Disaster Relief

Samuel Vigersky
Senior Humanitarian Advisor
US Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 6, 2022


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The United States is pleased to co-sponsor and join the consensus on these three resolutions and reaffirm the vital function of the United Nations in meeting global humanitarian needs.

Last week, the UN released the Global Humanitarian Outlook for 2023. Nearly 340 million people are expected to be in need of humanitarian assistance, an all-time high. The appeal is asking for the astronomical sum of $51.5 billion.

Like last year, we beat the worst records in the world.

The world is facing an unprecedented food insecurity crisis. Countries reeling from increased hunger and malnutrition caused by COVID, conflict and climate shocks are now facing new suffering from Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine.

The world is also suffering from a catastrophic climate crisis. From floods in Pakistan to unprecedented drought in the Horn of Africa. Families are faced with impossible choices, choosing which child to feed and wondering if they will survive.

And across the world, we face a series of deadly and protracted conflicts.

On all fronts, the United States is mobilizing to do the right thing and address these pressing global challenges.

We remain the largest humanitarian donor, providing nearly $17 billion in humanitarian assistance in fiscal year 2022.

Since Russia launched its premeditated, unprovoked, large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the United States has provided more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian assistance to support displaced people, including refugees and other vulnerable populations inside Ukraine and in the region.

In response to the global food insecurity crisis, we have committed nearly $11 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine.

In May, the United States presented a roadmap for global food insecurity. More than 100 Member States have already supported the roadmap.

We continue to expand drought response assistance in the Horn of Africa. We doubled the funding of our commitments to more than $2 billion this fiscal year.

Extremely high levels of food insecurity are driving humanitarian needs in Afghanistan, where the United States is proud to be the largest bilateral donor of humanitarian assistance.

Conflicts account for more than 80% of humanitarian needs worldwide.

In addition to Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, protracted violence in Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and South Sudan has caused humanitarian needs to skyrocket.

Parties to violence do not help their citizens.

Warmongers choose violence over peace, corruption over prosperity, personal gain over the protection of human rights.

The answer is not more violence. We need political solutions.

As President Biden has said, we must engage in relentless diplomacy.

We need to engage more effectively in diplomatic negotiations at the regional and global levels, bilaterally and multilaterally, in our capitals and at the UN, to bring the parties together and end these conflicts.

In the meantime, we must stand up for those doing the difficult, dangerous and necessary humanitarian work.

The United States is a proud co-sponsor of the resolution on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and the protection of United Nations personnel.

We are deeply concerned about the increase in safety and security incidents affecting all humanitarian personnel, in particular locally recruited personnel.

For the first time, the resolution acknowledges the growing threat of disinformation campaigns that undermine UN and humanitarian organizations and endanger aid workers.

The United States remains concerned about the continued obstruction of humanitarian access by parties to the conflict and attacks on aid workers.

In Ethiopia, we are pleased to see the recent improvement in humanitarian access. But the continued presence of Eritrean forces and bureaucratic hurdles still hamper assistance to vulnerable populations in need, including survivors of widespread gender-based violence.

In Yemen, the long-term solution to the food insecurity crisis is lasting peace. We must do more to encourage all parties to the conflict, in particular the Houthis, to respect international humanitarian law.

In Syria, attacks by the Assad regime have killed aid workers and destroyed their facilities. The Assad regime continues to obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid to people in need across the country.

In all conflicts, we must promote accountability, in accordance with international law.

This means that we must continue our longstanding work to keep the humanitarian consequences of the crises in Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and elsewhere on the agenda of the Security Council.

The United States has also proudly enhanced understanding of what is permitted under UN sanctions and minimized unintended negative impacts, particularly on the flow of humanitarian assistance.

For example, Secretary Blinken announced in September an initiative to exclude humanitarian activities from US and UN sanctions regimes.

We have also focused on preventing and combating sexual exploitation and abuse.

We need to prioritize and strengthen our collective efforts to implement risk prevention and mitigation strategies.

We need to support survivors. We need to improve reporting mechanisms and hold perpetrators to account. And we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

We can and must do all we can to live up to our highest aspirations.

This means advancing management reforms, across all UN agencies, to improve humanitarian results for affected populations.

This means providing more financial and diplomatic support to actors seeking to help those trapped in conflict.

And that means doing everything in our power to forge political solutions, hold bad actors accountable, and push for permanent peace.

Before concluding, I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that resolutions are non-binding documents. They do not create or affect any rights or obligations under international law. We refer you to our general statement delivered at the 77th session of the Second Committee of the General Assembly.



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