Statement by Turkey, Agenda Item 73 “Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance” at 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 08.12.2017
Mr. President,

At the outset, we would like to thank the Secretary-General for his reports on the humanitarian activities of the UN system.

We also would like to commend the efforts of UN humanitarian agencies in their life saving work, as well as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, whose role to ensure effective coordination in the delivery of humanitarian assistance remains essential.

Mr. President,

The Global Humanitarian Needs Overview published last week once again presented a stark reality. 136 million people in need of assistance and protection in crises. And the drivers of majority of needs are again conflict and violence.

Despite all our collective efforts and 18 months on since the first World Humanitarian Summit, the gap between the humanitarian needs and the resources available to address those, continue to widen.

It is hard to ignore and sit idle in the face of the devastating effects of man-made crises, such as those ravaging in Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan and Yemen. The levels of unimaginable suffering in these conflicts and complete disregard for international humanitarian law must stop.

Regrettably they don’t stop there and elsewhere. The adverse effects of climate change, rapid and slow onset disasters resulting from climate events, and the returned risk of famine affected millions in 2017.

Number of forcibly displaced persons continued to grow over 65.5 million people globally. Millions of children are at the risk of starting their lives without shelter or education and most importantly hope.

As we speak, Turkey is sheltering close to 3.3 million Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans who fled the violence. From the onset of the current wave of displacement, we have called for greater global responsibility sharing.

As long as we can demonstrate political leadership and share the same moral responsibility at global scale, it does not matter if the people in need are in our door step or in lands far away from us.

That is the basic premise which keeps Turkish humanitarians of our national agencies such as AFAD, TIKA and Turkish Red Crescent and our NGOs work selflessly in assisting the displaced hosted in our country or those in need in different corners of the world such as Somalia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Iraq.

Indeed, this is also the same premise which led Turkey to strongly support the organization of the first World Humanitarian Summit from its very inception.

At the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016, 9,000 representatives from Member States and other stakeholders came together and made over 3,700 commitments to deliver on the ambitious changes called for in the Agenda for Humanity.

In Istanbul, we announced our support to the commitments in the five core responsibilities set out in this Agenda and made national commitments to that end. Today Turkey is pleased to observe that the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit are driving the change. To name a few the following can be said.

· Efforts to transcend the humanitarian-development divide through a New Way of Working are gaining traction. The policy and field level work in this field, which Turkey contributes to, receive a strong support from the leadership of the UN.

· The Secretary-General’s focus on prevention builds on the call from the Summit for a new era in political leadership matched with effective financing and tools such as mediation to prevent and end crises.

· The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the subsequent processes for Global Compacts, reinforce the commitments made in Istanbul. Together we make progress to better address the short and long-term needs of refugees, improve support to host communities and assist migrants in vulnerable situations.

· Humanitarian financing is being increasingly targeted toward reducing need, risk and vulnerability. Through the support of member states, Agencies like UNHCR and UNRWA develop encouraging new partnerships with international financial institutions, including the World Bank and Islamic Development Bank, to scale up financing to better address root causes.

The Summit clearly underlined the growing awareness of the world humanitarian community about our common problems.

The changes the Summit calls for have the potential to transform the humanitarian landscape, in order to save more lives and accelerate progress for people in crisis contexts. So that people can benefit from the universal and ambitious Sustainable Development Goals.

As humanitarian needs mount, it is no time to retreat from commitments made at the Summit. Rather, it is the moment for all stakeholders to maintain global momentum that was generated.

Among other priorities, in 2018, we should continue our efforts in the following fronts:

1. Redouble our efforts to resolve the conflicts and place prevention at the center of the United Nations’ work.

2. Address the need for fair burden sharing. Adopt the Global Compacts for Migrants and Refugees and vigorously implement them to make real changes in the lives of people on the move.

3. Uphold our obligations to protect civilians and end the culture of impunity around violations.

4. Reinforce the objectives of the Sendai Framework (for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030), the 2030 Agenda and the Agenda for Humanity to achieve a cultural shift from managing crises to managing risk.

5. Embrace the “New Way of Working” as a vehicle to bring humanitarian and development analysis, planning and financing closer together to work toward shared outcomes of reduced need, risk and vulnerability in protracted crises.

And while doing all these, we should work in close partnership with all stakeholders and put people at the center of our work.

Mr. President,

As the second largest individual humanitarian donor in the world in 2016, Turkey’s humanitarian assistance efforts continue in this spirit. We are confident that the Istanbul Summit was a point of departure for all of us to achieve lasting change.

I thank you.