Statement by H.E. Y. Halit Çevik Permanent Representative on Agenda Item 73 “Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance” at the 71st Plenary Meeting of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
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.
The global humanitarian system has made considerable progress throughout history, to the common benefit of the peoples in need. Yet, it is undeniable that today the international community is facing tremendous challenges in the humanitarian field. As Under-Secretary-General Stephen O’Brien also drew attention in Geneva this week, “human suffering has reached levels not seen since the Second World War: more than 125 million people will need humanitarian assistance to survive in 2016”.
Turkey shares the view that the current international humanitarian system can no longer adequately address the increasing dimensions and complexities of today’s humanitarian crises, the great majority of which are conflict related.
As the most recent tragic exodus of migrants and refugees has bitterly reminded the international community, humanitarian crises increasingly transcend borders.
It is our moral obligation to help those in dire need. To join such efforts is also the common responsibility of each and every member of this august body.
With 3,5 billion US Dollars of official development aid, and with 1,6 billion US Dollars of overseas humanitarian assistance, making her the third largest humanitarian donor in the world, Turkey shoulders a formidable task in our common responsibility.
Yet there is a need for many more emerging donors and an ever increasing support from the traditional donors to cope with the rapidly increasing demand.
Thus, the World Humanitarian Summit, convened by the Secretary-General, to be held in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016 is very timely.
We, as the host country, are fully engaged and committed to make the Summit a real success. Over the course of past few years, the multi-stake holder Summit process has achieved a lot. We will continue to support Secretariat in the road to Istanbul.
Summit outcomes jointly endorsed by all humanitarian actors, should clearly set the future agenda for the international community while identifying the issues to be followed up. In this respect, we would like underline some of the ideas that we think are of particularly important.
First, given the complexity of the present crises, the humanitarian-development nexus needs to be strengthened. International assistance has to be seen as a long term investment for our collective security, peace and prosperity. Part of this effort should include a shift towards a more development and resilience-oriented approach.
Turkey’s approach in Somalia, Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan Africa has been based on this understanding, to the best of our means.
Second issue is related to how best and efficiently we could use our limited resources.
While the global humanitarian system is running out of funds, affected people are running out of time.
We believe well-defined models and modalities are needed to ensure better coordination not only among the relevant UN bodies operating in the field, but also between them and all other stakeholders.
In achieving this affected communities must be at the core of the humanitarian action. Localized response ensures that needs are defined more accurately and that local economies and structures are also utilized and reinforced.
In the same vein, ensuring financial support is equally crucial. In the run up to Summit we should continue focusing on new humanitarian financing modalities at the global level. Thus, we look forward to seeing the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing to feed in to the Summit discussions.
Third, the tragic waves of refugees is a fact we can no longer neglect or ignore.
Humanitarian crises triggered by conflicts bring about serious impacts not only in the country of origin, but also in its neighbors and beyond.
It is high time that global actions on refugee issues should be considered at the Summit with particular emphasis on assisting refugees and their host countries. In this vein General Assembly’s recent meeting held under the agenda item 130 in 20th November has been useful and we welcome Secretary-General’s intention to convene a Summit in September 2016.
Providing medical aid into conflict zones, addressing the needs of women and children and other vulnerable groups, and protecting victims are crucial to save lives; but we must also think about how to safeguard the education and livelihoods of those who survive.
In the face of the surge in forced displacement and protracted conflicts around us, we are all confronted with difficult choices to help those in need of protection.
As a neighboring country, Turkey deeply feels the multiple effects of the tragedy in Syria. Despite all challenges, we continue to pursue an "open door" policy for Syrians and Iraqis without any discrimination.
Also our assistance to other humanitarian emergencies continue, covering a wide geography including Iraq, Palestine, Myanmar, Somalia, Nepal, Ukraine, Yemen, South Sudan among others.
Our common objective is in fact simple: to better respond to humanitarian crises to save lives, and thus, save humanity.
While concluding we call upon all Member States and stakeholders to support the World Humanitarian Summit process and to participate in the Summit at the highest level to show our global responsibility as well as ownership for the humanity.