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General Assembly discusses UN humanitarian and disaster relief assistance

The representative of the Netherlands, Koen Davidse, speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU) and associated States, said the issue of humanitarian coordination was at the core of the ongoing debate about improving the quality and effectiveness of humanitarian aid. An effective response to today’s humanitarian challenges required a broadening of views, to include political, military and developmental partners. By better listening to and coordinating with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and affected populations, and by building local capacities, better ownership and participation could be ensured, and the chances for sustainable results could be increased.Qatar’s Ambassador, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said the principles of neutrality, humanity and impartiality needed to guide all humanitarian action. It was essential that humanitarian action be apolitical and offered at the request of the recipient government. He also emphasized the need to ensure a more equitable distribution of humanitarian assistance across emergencies, including those of a protracted nature. It had been observed that aid was abundantly provided in humanitarian emergency situations that benefited from wide media coverage. By contrast, as soon as the media spotlight faded away, resources tended to be scarce, especially in some specific regions and when the more difficult task of reconstruction began.Ambassador Ruth Elizabeth Rouse of Grenada, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said it was “ironic as well as lamentable” that it took a disastrous hurricane season in the Caribbean region to reinforce the point that the small island developing States needed special and differential treatment because of, among other things, their vulnerability to natural disasters. It was crucial for the UN agencies in the region to have a mechanism that would enable a timelier implementation of programmes and a more rapid disbursement of funds, she said, calling for enhanced cooperation between UN agencies and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency.For his part, Ambassador Aminu B. Wali of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Union, said the unenviable record of conflicts on the African continent underscored the importance of policy coherence and coordination among both donors and the UN agencies in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The continent continued to lament the serious gap between relief and development to ensure a smooth transition from humanitarian emergency assistance to post-conflict reconstruction and development. The past decade had witnessed more violent conflicts and more complex humanitarian challenges. read more

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