27 June 2016, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States delivered by Ms Lilianne PLOUMEN, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, at the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of ECOSOC, United Nations
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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
I wish to thank the Secretary-General for convening the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul last month. I also wish to thank Switzerland for chairing the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of ECOSOC, and for once again successfully facilitating the ECOSOC humanitarian resolution, together with Bangladesh.
With humanitarian needs and global displacement at an untenable all-time high, the WHS was, sadly, very timely. The European Union and its Member States, collectively the world’s largest humanitarian donor, saw the Summit as a unique opportunity to make the system more effective, efficient, inclusive and accountable, and supported the Summit throughout its lengthy preparatory process and multi-stakeholder consultations. To help make the Secretary-General’s “Agenda for Humanity” a reality, we made a number of meaningful and concrete commitments in Istanbul, both collectively in EU Council conclusions adopted shortly before the Summit, and individually as the EU and each EU Member State.
The Summit has had the merit of bringing a variety of stakeholders together, of raising the key issues, and of delivering a series of valuable new commitments and initiatives. It was never going to be an end in itself, but rather a starting point. In the follow-up to Istanbul, we want concrete and meaningful progress on each of the five core responsibilities to capitalise on the momentum created in Istanbul.
First, we reaffirm our commitment to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and to preventing the politicisation and instrumentalisation of humanitarian aid. Humanitarian action cannot be a substitute for political solutions. Decisive political action to address and prevent the conflicts causing massive displacement and suffering is more urgent than ever, and we commit to do our part.
Second, the EU and its Member States will continue to advocate strongly and consistently for the respect of International Humanitarian Law. In a world affected by multiple conflicts, respecting the rules of war is essential to protect civilians and to enable humanitarian and healthcare workers to do their vital work. We call for a concerted effort to ensure full compliance with these norms.
Third, we reaffirm our commitment to leave no one behind, to reach those furthest behind first, and to put people at the centre of humanitarian action. This should be done while fully taking into account the specific needs but also the capacities of women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities. On the latter, we wish to highlight the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action as an important concrete outcome of the Summit. The EU and its Member States are also determined to tackle the multi-dimensional root causes of the current global refugee crisis. We will also implement a new development-oriented framework to address forced displacement to ensure that affected people move from aid-dependence to self-reliance. We will further invest in disaster risk reduction and resilience building.
Fourth, the EU and its Member States will step up their efforts to strengthen partnerships to better assist people in need. We will engage more closely with local actors. We will ensure synergies between our humanitarian and development actions. We will intensify our actions to ensure that the international humanitarian system is able to address current and future challenges in a reliable and predictable way. We will work to make sure humanitarian action is inclusive and makes the best possible use of the comparative advantage of local, national and international actors.
Fifth, we need to make sure we have the resources to help people affected by conflict and disasters, and that we use these resources as efficiently as possible. We therefore welcomed the report of the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing and applauded the “Grand Bargain” in Istanbul between donors and implementing agencies as another very concrete outcome of the Summit. We urge all signatories to undertake the necessary reforms to ensure sufficient and efficient funding.
The European Union and its Member States call for the follow-up to the Summit to be inclusive, accountable, transparent, efficient, unbureaucratic, avoiding any new structures and with all the necessary lessons drawn from the Summit and its preparations. The Summit must be the starting point in turning the UN Secretary-General’s “Agenda for Humanity” into a reality. We very much look forward to the Secretary-General’s report in taking this forward.
In ensuring follow-up to the Summit, we also believe that all opportunities should be used to advance the cause of humanity, including by using all existing processes to the full. This is of course true of the Humanitarian Segment of ECOSOC and of our discussions over the next three days. The same will be true of events in the margins of the UN General Assembly, including the UN-convened high-level meeting on the large movements of refugees and migrants and the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees convened by President Obama.
Finally, it will be important in the coming period to inclusively reflect on the necessary further systemic improvements, as appropriate in the context of the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Executive Boards of UN agencies, funds, and programmes.
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