The Security Council met for its 7954th meeting on 30 May 2017. It addressed the situation in the Middle East, particularly in Yemen.
The meeting brought attention to the prevailing humanitarian situation in Yemen. The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien briefed the Security Council that Yemen was facing “the largest food security crisis in the world”, with 17 million people in need of food, of which 6.8 million just “one step away from famine.” Besides, half of all health facilities are now closed, and yet, the Yemeni people are still suffering from communicable and preventable diseases. The recent outbreak of cholera is also alarming. They both stressed that these threats were avoidable, subject to the international community’s support.
Meeting: 7954th Meeting of the Security Council – “The Situation in the Middle East”
Date/Location: Tuesday, May 30, 2017; 10:00-11:30; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers: Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN Special Envoy for Yemen; Stephen Rothwell O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; Radhya Almutawakel, Chairperson, Mwatana Organization for Human Rights; Representatives of Bolivia, Uruguay, and Yemen
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau
This meeting discussed ECOSOC’s roadmap for the long-term vision of the UN Development System, which is oriented towards entering into inclusive and purposeful discussions that will help direct the future of the UNDS from a system-wide perspective. The dialogue occurs in a segmented fashion, with each segment focusing on a particular function of ECOSOC.
Several sessions of the dialogue have already occurred, focusing on several key challenges facing UNDS, including the task of implementing the post-2015 development agenda in a way that ensures its universal application and the integration of economic, social, and environmental development. The Integration Segment as well as the Humanitarian Affairs segment, both of which will occur later this year, were discussed at today’s briefing.
The overall focus of this year’s Integration Segment will be achieving sustainable development “through employment creation and decent work for all,” both of which are incorporated in the proposed SDG #8. Full and productive employment and decent work for all are understood to be among the most effective roads leading out of poverty, thus linking their achievement to the ultimate success of the sustainable development agenda as a whole. Mr. Drobnjak noted that, unfortunately, economic growth in many countries has not led to a corresponding rise in decent work opportunities. This, combined with youth unemployment, has contributed to growing inequalities and increased social strife. Further, the continued onset of climate change threatens to erode development gains made thus far.
The Humanitarian Affairs Segment is expected to produce a strong resolution that strengthens the coordination of the emergency humanitarian assistance supplied by UN emergency services as well as ensuring that these mechanisms remain relevant to current global challenges and the future landscape of humanitarian assistance needs. In addition to the presence of several high-level government and civil society leaders, the Humanitarian Affairs segment will also feature the formal inclusion of affected people.
Meeting: Roadmap for ECOSOC Dialogue on longer-term positioning of UN Development System (informal briefings for non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council)
Date & Location: 16 March 2015, Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: H.E. María Emma Mejía Vélez (Colombia), Vice-President of the Council; H.E. Vladimir Drobnjak (Croatia), Vice-President of the Council; H.E. Mohamed Khaled Khiari (Tunisia), Vice-President of the Council
Written by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey
This morning, a panel discussion on analytical tools for humanitarian decision-making was held at the United Nations. Ms. Hooijer opened the discussion by stressing the fundamental need of analytical tools to assist policy makers in visualising multi-layer crises and making informed evidence-based decisions.
Mr. Williams took the floor and introduced InfoRM (The Index for Risk Management), the first global, objective and transparent tool for understanding the risk of humanitarian crises. He pointed out the birth of InfoRM provided the capacity to build people’s resilience through prioritisation, risk profiling and trend analysis that allowed different actors to be well prepared and make better responses. Mr. Williams commented InfoRM was an adaptive tool due to its global coverage, transparent data and flexible methodology and had been widely adopted by FAO, OCHA, ECOSOC, UNICEF, World Food Programme etc. Mr. Williams hoped for a broader adoption of this tool so that resources can be aligned.
Ms. Scott presented a roadmap that can help build resilience after risk assessment. Ms. Scott stressed that resilience can only be brought about when it is integrated in all parts of the system. Ms. Scott pointed out current humanitarian focus was simply on adaptive capacity, as systems become less exposed to shock. She saw the urgency for transformation mainly in the individual/household level and also national level to make a total system change where the shock will no longer be an impact. Ms. Scott emphasised that social capital and role of host family were most critical in resilience building.
Ms. Ribeiro, on behalf of Brazil, was in favour of analytic tools in helping the country to get informed, prepared and making sure money was well spent in a sustainable and preventive manner. Ms. Ribeiro highlighted the success story of the adoption of cash transfer programme and local purchases of food as resilience-building instruments to alleviate extreme poverty, reduce risk and promote resilience.
Meeting: A new generation of analytical tools for preparedness and resilience
Speakers: Ms. Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director for Strategy, Policy and International Cooperation, ECHO; Mr. Craig Williams, Chief of the Field Information Services Section (FISS), OCHA; Ms. Rachel Scott, Senior Humanitarian Advisor, OECD; Ms. Adriana Telles Ribeiro, Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations
Location: Conference Room 5 NLB, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 24 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark
The Humanitarian Affairs Segment provides an important forum for discussing the activities and issues related to strengthening the coordination of the humanitarian assistance of the United Nations. The focus of this report is on the opening of the Humanitarian Affairs Segment where Member States provided their respective positions.
In his opening remarks, H.E. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi stated that together we could identify ways to strengthen our collective response to the humanitarian challenges facing us today. H.E emphasised that every crisis is different and thus its context should determine the nature of assistance. Following Ms. Valerie Amos highlighted the security situation in different parts of the world: the Middle East and Africa have witnessed the displacement of millions of people; inter-communal violence in Myanmar and Philippines have killed and displaced several thousand people; and the largest number of refugees are in Afghanistan. She acknowledged and appreciated the generous funding of the member states in 2013 towards response plans and complimentary humanitarian action.
A representative from Bolivia then delivered its statement on behalf of Group of 77 and China. In its statement they declared that special attention should be paid to the guiding principles of respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States, which should remain the overarching parameters in all efforts for coordination of humanitarian assistance. Ireland stated that inter-communal and ethnic violence are the outcome of years and indeed decades of endemic poverty, under-development, weak democratic institutions and neglect by the international community. Furthermore, Ireland stressed on the protection and gender based violence to be a crucial objective in humanitarian assistance.
Switzerland introduced three points of debate: question of efficiency of humanitarian aid; questions of protection of victims in armed conflicts; and wanted to question the current humanitarian assistance model. Canada, then stated that they remain committed to working with their humanitarian partners to provide life saving and effective assistance to affected populations, collectively improve their capacity to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities, as well as to ensure coherence in humanitarian and development efforts, in order to achieve lasting and sustainable results.
Meeting Title: Humanitarian Affairs Segment
Speakers: His Excellency Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ms. Ingrid Sabja, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia; Mr. Tim Mawe, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ireland; Ambassador Manuel Bessler, Head of Switzerland Humanitarian Aid Department; Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations
Location: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations, New York.
Date: 23 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Aslesha Kaur Dhillon
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark