As part of the ECOSOC humanitarian affairs segment, a meeting was held to discuss how to respond to the needs of people in complex emergency situations. Beginning the meeting, H.E. Mr. Dabbashi, gave a statement on how to provide more sustainable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs), and stated how partnerships between international and local actors must be strengthened in order for humanitarian aid to have the greatest effect.
Following, Ms. Amos, the USG for Humanitarian Affairs, stated that 75% of crises requiring humanitarian response are due to conflicts or complex emergencies, and 33.3 million people worldwide are displaced in their own countries due to conflict. Furthermore, she emphasized the importance of talking with armed groups in conflict zones in order for aid workers to be able to gain access to the effected civilians.
Next, Mr. Ramos Horta from the UN peacebuilding office spoke about how civilians oftentimes bear the brunt of casualties from conflicts, especially in Syria, Central African Republic, and Iraq. In these areas conflict and violence against civilians are leading to massive displacement, loss of livelihoods, restriction of movement, sexual violence, and long periods of insecurity. Mr. Ramos Horta emphasized that shifts in global geopolitical and economic power must be accompanied by a growing responsibility of these actors to respond to humanitarian crises, and that this humanitarian action must be complimented by more intensive investment in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, mediation of political settlements, and post conflict recovery.
Following, Mr. Al-Kholani spoke about the growing crises in his home country, Yemen, where thousands of IDPs are in vulnerable situations due to conflict. Yemen has created a single governmental authority, the Executive Unit for Internally Displaced Persons, to handle their IDP crisis. Dr. Philip Spoerri from the Red Cross then spoke about using the international humanitarian law (IHL) framework to protect civilians in armed conflict, and to restrict the flow of weapons. IHL imposes obligations on both state and non-state actors, and the biggest challenge to IHL is that in conflict situations it is often blatantly ignored.
Meeting Title: Economic and Social Council Humanitarian Affairs Segment: Panel Discussion on “Serving the needs of people in complex emergencies”
Speakers: H.E. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau; Mr. Ahmed Al-Kholani, Director of the Executive Unit of Internally Displaced Persons and Camps Management, Yemen; Dr. Philip Spoerri, Director for International Law and Cooperation, International Committee of the Red Cross; Mgr. Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangui; Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, President of the Islamic Council in the Central African Republic; Reverend Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou, President of the Central African Republic’s Evangelical Alliance
Date: 25 June 2014
Location ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan