STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE DELEGATION OF THE CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA DURING THE UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL (ECOSOC) HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS SEGMENT (New York, 9 June 2020)
1. This statement is delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, allow me, on behalf of the Group, to thank you and members of the Bureau for ensuring that this important Segment can be held virtually, in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We consider this Segment an essential platform to discuss how Member States, the UN System and other stakeholders can further enhance the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance, for the sake of the increasing number of people affected by humanitarian emergencies globally.
3. The G77 and China commends you also for the organization of the interactive event held yesterday, that addressed the transition from relief to development. This a matter of utmost importance for our Group. The topics for the upcoming panel discussions are also very relevant at this time, as is the discussion about the humanitarian landscape, considering the impacts of COVID-19.
4. The Group welcomes this year's theme of "Reinforcing humanitarian assistance in the context of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations: taking action for people-centred solutions, strengthening effectiveness, respecting international humanitarian law and promoting the humanitarian principles."
5. The United Nations humanitarian response system is faced with increasing challenges, as the world experiences the unprecedented and debilitating effects of COVID-19. Those living in humanitarian emergencies are among the most vulnerable, with the pandemic exacerbating pre-existing humanitarian needs. This Segment affords us the important opportunity to discuss these impacts and possible alleviating measures.
6. In this regard, the Group of 77 and China would like to highlight the negative impact that the continuation of unilateral coercive measures is having on the capacity of some States to respond efficiently to the challenges of COVID-19, specifically in the acquisition of medical equipment and supplies to adequately treat their populations.
7. Additionally, we emphasize the importance of international cooperation and effective coordination within the UN system, in response to the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on all States to work closely with the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations to increase efforts to facilitate safe and unimpeded access and movement of health and humanitarian personnel and goods in response to each country's critical needs.
8. Our Group sought to address these and other important matters during the negotiations on the draft resolution "Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance of the United Nations." We would like to commend the efforts of the facilitator in spearheading the negotiations on the draft resolution and hope we will be able to act on it as soon as conditions allow. The Group of 77 and China reiterates its commitment to constructive collaboration with all parties for strengthening the coordination and provision of humanitarian assistance.
9. The Group wishes to state that humanitarian emergencies resulting from natural disasters as well as other causes, such as the outbreak of infectious and non-communicable diseases, merit the same level of attention as those resulting from armed conflicts. The adverse effects of climate change are real and catastrophic, especially to countries in special situations. These countries are among the first to experience the most devastating impacts of climate change, with massive humanitarian consequences and greater risks to economies, livelihoods, and food security.
10. International cooperation, technical and financial support from States and the United Nations, remain indispensable. However, such support should not undermine or replace national or local mechanisms but strengthen them, to allow governments the ability to respond promptly in effecting positive change for affected communities. In this regard, the Group recalls that national authorities of affected States have the primary responsibility in the initiation, organization and coordination of humanitarian assistance. We must prioritize the need to strengthen capacity building and resilience.
11. Increased and predictable humanitarian financing, through innovative and diversified means, including from States, humanitarian and development organizations and the private sector, is necessary to assist developing countries suffering from humanitarian emergencies. We encourage the UN system to enhance efforts for anticipatory financing mechanisms, such as forecast-based and risk financing, and disaster risk insurance.
12. Furthermore, the Group reaffirms that relief, recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction and longer-term development are different means to the one ultimate end; their complementarity should be underscored for a seamless coordination of humanitarian assistance. While acknowledging the need to narrow the humanitarian-development divide, it is important that we do not blur the line that separates their objectives and priorities.
13. Our Membership requests to be continually informed of the operationalization of humanitarian assistance coordination in emergency situations, as well as the implementation of normative aspects, and recommendations to enhance coordination in the field. We stress the need to pay equivalent attention to both conflict and security, and natural disaster emergencies.
Mr. Vice President
14. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that, with the support of member States, the role of the United Nations in coordinating humanitarian response is of utmost importance. As we approach the UN's 75th Anniversary, let us work together towards more effective coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance to address the needs of the those caught in humanitarian emergencies.