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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

• The EU will continue to be a strong advocate for international humanitarian law and the respect for and adherence to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. These principles constitute the core of humanitarian assistance and must permeate all humanitarian activities and be respected by all parties at all times.

• Recently we have witnessed an increase in the number of actors involved in humanitarian action. The EU welcomes this trend as a positive sign of broader humanitarian commitment. However, the increased number of actors clearly poses challenges to the coordination of humanitarian aid, and may also require more clearly defined mandates. Respect for each others roles and mandates is needed, in order not to risk blurring the line between these actors, especially between humanitarian and military or political actors. The EU emphasizes the need for all parties to act in accordance with the Oslo Guidelines and the Military and Civil Defence Assets Guidelines in complex emergencies.

• The EU strongly condemns all attacks of violence or other forms of deliberate harassment of humanitarian personnel. We have seen a sharp and worrying increase in incidents in recent years. This is totally unacceptable. The EU requires that all actors involved ensure that all possible preventive measures are taken in order to stop such attacks and to guarantee the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.

• Timely assistance to people in need is fundamental to humanitarian action. The EU is deeply concerned by the several factors impeding humanitarian access to those entitled to humanitarian aid. The consequence of limited access is, ultimately, prolonged and exacerbated suffering of the most vulnerable. It is in all parties interest to jointly work to ensure that humanitarian needs are met in a timely and safe manner.

Possible questions:

    • The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has drafted International Disaster Response Laws, Rules and Principles in order to facilitate international humanitarian response in support of national efforts. Are these principles increasingly being used? What more can member states do to promote their implementation?

    • We have heard much about the “blurring of lines” between humanitarian and military or political actors, not least in Afghanistan and, perhaps, in Somalia. Could the panellists provide some concrete examples of good practice, where solutions have been found in order to avoid this confusion?

    • Paragraph 33 in the SG report speaks about the UN developing system-wide guidance around the position of humanitarian action in UN integrated missions. Can you say more about this, including the time-line for these efforts?

    • The EU is very committed to trying to engage with all member states in building a stronger global partnership around the humanitarian principles and their practical application in the field. We would welcome any suggestions on how we can move forward with this, together.

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