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Joint Statement by India and Sweden at the General Assembly session on the Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the UN

Joint Statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of India and Sweden at the General Assembly session on the Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, 8 December 2017, New York.

Mr. President,

  1. It is my great honour to deliver a Joint Statement on behalf of India and Sweden under the agenda item on the Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations. The partnership between India and Sweden – and our joint statement here today – is a reflection of our shared and profound commitment to a strong international humanitarian response system. We also share a determination to work together as global champions in support of an effective humanitarian response.
  2. The number of those in need of humanitarian assistance is at its highest level since the end of the Second World War. Several protracted crises across the whole world are worsening. Climate-induced emergencies and natural disasters, sometimes combined with violent conflict, continue to wreak havoc on vulnerable communities.
  3. The global humanitarian system reaches tens of millions of people every year and saves millions of lives. It is an effective and responsive system staffed by dedicated and professional individuals. Yet, today’s unprecedented needs require an unprecedented response – both in quantity and in quality. In addition, stronger partnerships for humanitarian action will be needed. India’s and Sweden’s joint statement here today shows that common values and a shared commitment to humanitarian assistance can transcend geographical distance. We encourage all member states to join us in this endeavour by building similar partnerships. 

    Mr. President,
  4. We – India and Sweden – reaffirm that humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law provide the basis for humanitarian assistance. The essence of General Assembly resolution 46/182 is the call for collective efforts by the international community and the United Nations in responding to humanitarian crises. We are committed to preserving and strengthening respect for, and adherence to, the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
  5. We also emphasize that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States must be fully respected during humanitarian action, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. The primary responsibility for providing protection and humanitarian assistance in a crisis always lies with the affected state.

    Mr. President,
  6. More humanitarian workers are being targeted in violent attacks than ever before. We strongly condemn all attacks directed against personnel involved in humanitarian or peacekeeping missions. Such attacks are not just an attack on the United Nations, but an attack on humanity itself. We reaffirm the need to end impunity for such acts. We welcome the resolution on ‘Safety and Security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel’, which we will adopt later today.
  7. Affected populations should be at the centre of all humanitarian action. We encourage the humanitarian community and the whole United Nations system to continue to enhance their accountability to, and work closely with, those affected by humanitarian crises and disasters in order to ensure an inclusive process and to promote local ownership.
  8. In light of the growing number of protracted crises, closer collaboration between the development and humanitarian agencies of the United Nations is critical. Development actors must engage earlier and more robustly in humanitarian contexts and fragile states. In turn, humanitarian agencies must become better at involving development and national actors early on in planning and analysis. We all need to work better together.

    Mr. President,
  9. India and Sweden believe that humanitarian assistance is not only a moral obligation; it is also essential to the maintenance of international peace and security. As the world witnesses an unprecedented number of forcibly displaced people, increased migration flows, growing extremism and political instability, we must ask ourselves not only what the cost of humanitarian action is; but what the cost of inaction will be.
  10. We all have a common responsibility to respond to humanitarian crises, wherever they may arise. We can all contribute in some way. Be it through monetary core contributions to humanitarian agencies or through political support for humanitarian access. Every contribution matters. We must recognise that humanitarian crises become acute and unmanageable in contexts of poverty and underdevelopment. In these contexts, the capacity to respond to, and manage crises is limited, as is the ability to rebuild afterwards. Therefore, while adequate funding for humanitarian response remains a significant challenge; we must not lose sight of the need for longer-term investment in development and resilience. With time, these investments will also reduce the need for large-scale humanitarian responses.

    Mr. President,
  11. India was among the first countries to make emergency aid available to the countries’ worst affected by the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean region. India undertook an evacuation from Saint Maarten of the nationals of 10 countries. And, through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund at the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), India has provided US $ 2.2 million for relief efforts in CARICOM.
  12. Sweden not only provides significant targeted support to most of the world’s major humanitarian crises; we are also one of the single largest donors of core funding to UN humanitarian agencies. Flexible funding, such as core and pooled funding, allows for timely, independent, effective and efficient humanitarian action based.
  13. In a world marked by dramatically increasing humanitarian needs, the Central Emergency Response Fund – the CERF - has proven to be one of the most effective ways to provide time-critical assistance and protection to millions of people.  That is why India and Sweden are proud to be longstanding donors to the CERF. We encourage all Member States with the means to do so, to contribute to the CERF in order to achieve an annual funding level of 1 billion USD by 2018.
  14. Sweden and India are also partners in the Dialogue on Humanitarian Partnership. The DHP, co-chaired by Sweden and Brazil, brings together 24 engaged Member States to informally discuss key humanitarian issues here in New York.
  15. In closing, Mr. President, we call upon all Member States to build partnerships and to do what they can – politically and financially – to ensure that today’s unprecedented needs are met with unprecedented solidarity and an unprecedented humanitarian response.

I thank you very much.

Last updated 19 Jan 2018, 1.09 PM