Humanitarian Crises in Colombia and Myanmar

Rakhine camp._(8288488088)Today in the Trusteeship Council a meeting was convened on the humanitarian crises in Colombia and Myanmar. Beginning the meeting, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Kang, gave a briefing on the situation in Colombia, which continues to be grave as the country faces various humanitarian challenges including natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, as well as widespread violence from armed conflict. Currently, there are over 5.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia, with the biggest threats to human security coming from violence against women, the recruitment of child soldiers, and the use of land mines. She pointed out the importance of humanitarian relief funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), but urged donors to do more in supporting Colombia’s humanitarian needs.

Next, Mr. Hochschild, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Colombia, gave a statement about how decreases in poverty in Colombia have not been matched by decreases in inequality. He pointed out the three main dimensions of inequality that persist in Colombia, which are gender inequality, ethnic inequality, and geographic inequality. This inequality combined with ongoing conflict is only making the humanitarian situation in Colombia worse. Following, the Permanent Representative of Colombia spoke about how Colombia must overcome conflict in a sustainable way, so victims and survivors are at the center of the post conflict resolution process. She called for the support of the UN, and pointed out how war is a significant driver of poverty, and every opportunity needs to be taken to promote peace.

Next, Ms. Kang then gave a briefing on the humanitarian situation in Myanmar, where thousands of people in Rakhine and Kachin states continue to rely on humanitarian aid, and are so far unable to rebuild their lives due to conflict. The IDP camps are in terrible condition, severely restrict freedom of movement, and seriously lack access to adequate health care, water, and jobs. Myanmar also suffers from regular earthquakes, floods, and cyclones, which contribute to the deteriorating humanitarian situation. Concluding the meeting, the Permanent Representative of Myanmar spoke about the trust deficit that exists between the government and the donor community. He called for a human rights based approach to humanitarian aid, and an improvement of relations between Myanmar’s government and UN organizations/NGOs.

 

Meeting Title: “The Humanitarian Situation in Colombia and Myanmar” (Organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA))
Speakers: Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, UN Resident and Coordinator for Colombia; H.E. Ms. Maria Emma Mejia Velez, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN; Mr. Kyaw, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the UN
Date: 18 June 2014
Location: Trusteeship Council, United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Devastating Floods Ravage Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia

This afternoon the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina hosted a meeting to bring attention to the need for support and assessment in the flooded regions of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting also highlighted the increased levels of solidarity exemplified by the people and governments of the region in the aftermath of the floods. With over 56,000 objects damaged, the resulting losses were close to €1.3 billion – 10% of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s total slide_349676_3743600_freeGDP.

Mr. Eliasson opened the meeting by discussing both the devastating impact these floods have had on the region, and the importance of the next 60 days in assessing the damages and placing the region on a path back to normalcy. Heartened by the solidarity served, Mr. Eliasson enthusiastically commented on the high level of assistance shown by the region’s people, irrespective of the century old political and ethnic strife. To close, Mr. Eliasson commented on the ever-growing threat of natural disasters, which requires us to enhance our ability to work together, as well as strengthen our resilience in building safer conditions for living.

Dr. Lagumdžija continued the panel by focusing on landslides that destroyed almost 750 buildings, and buried landmines, the location of which are now unknown. He also discussed the need to refurbish agriculture, water, sanitation, and other basic necessities, Dr. Lagumdžija said the main priority is on restoring both housing and jobs.

Ms. Sultanoğlu reiterated points on solidarity, but focused mainly on the joint action required between private, regional, and international actors. With the assistance from the UN, these actors need a coordinated response for integrated flood and drought risk management. H.E. Mr. Drobnjak repeated points about housing and land mines, but brought attention to the need of 33 tons of chemicals to fight reemerging mosquito problems. H.E. Mr. Karadžić closed the meeting by reminding the group that while the emergency response was admirable, the upcoming months will test the region’s resilience.

 

Meeting title: Consequences of the Disastrous Floods and Presentation of Needs Assessment for the Affected Regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Speakers:  H.E. Ms. Mirsada Čolaković, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UN; Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General; Dr. Zlatko Lagumdžija, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman in the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ms. Ayşe Cihan Sultanoğlu, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States at the UNDP; H.E Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, Ambassador of Croatia to the UN; H.E. Mr. Radovan Karadžić, Ambassador of Serbia to the UN
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 5, New York
Date: 9 June 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Zachary Halliday
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark