Remarks by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock - Member States Briefing on the Central African Republic


New York, 6 October 2020

As delivered

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining us. We’re here today to give you an update of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic, and the need to sustain humanitarian action in the critical period ahead.

I am delighted to be joined by His Excellency Mr Marcien Kpatamango, Chargé d'Affaires at the Permanent Mission of the Central African Republic to the United Nations. Thank you, Excellency, for your cooperation in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable people in your country.

I am also thrilled to have His Excellency, Mr. Janez Lenarčič, with us, the European Commissioner for Crisis Management. Janez made a visit to Central African Republic in May right at the early stages of the peak of the COVID crisis and was able there to bring in supplies and staff into CAR at a time when global travel restrictions were especially challenging. So thank you very much indeed again Janez for that. I think it was a fantastic thing to do.

And we will also hear from Ms. Denise Brown, our Humanitarian Coordinator, who serves in CAR with courage and dedication.

David Manan, from the Norwegian Refugee Council, is also with us today on behalf of the NGO Coordination Committee (CCO), from CAR.

So I will introduce them all in a moment, but please allow me to say a few things myself first.

Firstly, it is important that we have made significant progress since the height of the crisis in CAR in 2013 and 2014, and that is thanks to the efforts of the national authorities and also to the sustained Member State and Security Council engagement. The humanitarian situation remains very difficult and obviously with elections in a few months time, the country is at a critical juncture. We can’t afford any moving back with what we have got to recently.

Today, there are 2.8 million Central Africans in need of humanitarian assistance and protection – nearly 60% of the country’s population.

There remains a major problem of violence. Increasing violations by armed groups are creating new displacements and humanitarian needs. And of course, this is all compounded by the impact of COVID-19.

I am grateful to our humanitarian partners -particularly our colleagues from national and international NGOs- who have been tirelessly responding to really continuous cycles of crises across the country.

They continue to work in a very complex environment- one of the most dangerous of the world for humanitarian staff actually. In the first nine months of this year alone, two humanitarian colleagues died and 21 were injured in incidents

But there are some real bright spots. We’ve seen good progress in bridging humanitarian and development efforts, thanks to innovative approaches like the collaboration between the Central African Republic Humanitarian Fund and the European Union Bekou Trust Fund, which I commend.

The state there is still struggling to deliver basic social services, which means that humanitarian agencies have to continue to fill the gaps. While these activities do provide a lifeline to the population, I think it will be very good to see a change in support from development partners to improve service delivery and also to see investment in critical infrastructure.

I hope as we look forward to think about the political horizon that donors and Security Council members to continue to prioritize the protection of civilians in their engagements on CAR, given the many risks and conflict dynamics in the country and the wider region.

Let me finish by thanking all the donors who have contributed generously to the Humanitarian Response Plan so far, which is trying to raise US$553 million dollars. We’ve raised a little more than half of the money so far this year. Thank you for your generosity, but much more needs to be done and I hope that today will inspire the financing of humanitarian agencies who are already helping and others, who maybe not at the moment, to come forward as well because the people of the Central African Republic need our help now and we must not fail them. They have suffered so much.

So thank you. I am looking forward to the discussion.

I am delighted now to hand the floor to His Excellency, Mr Marcien Kpatamango.


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