(Pretoria, 28 October 2014): Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, concluding a two-day visit to South Africa today said that learning from the experiences of the region will be vital in the global effort to reform humanitarian action.
“Humanitarian needs around the world are growing as a result of conflicts, natural disasters and other factors. The number of organizations and people involved in humanitarian response is growing, and we need to think through how best to work together,” said Ms. Amos at the opening of the regional consultation for Eastern and Southern Africa of the World Humanitarian Summit. “We need to ensure that people are at the heart of response efforts - not an afterthought. What do people themselves feel they need? How can we find out and seek to meet most needs rather than imposing solutions?”
Eastern and Southern Africa is the third of eight world regions to hold consultations, following consultations held in the West and Central Africa region in June and in North and South-East Asia in July. The results and recommendations will feed into the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, in 2016 convened by the UN Secretary-General. The aim of the summit is to set the agenda for future humanitarian action and create an inclusive and diverse global humanitarian system.
While in South Africa, USG Amos signed an agreement with Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), aimed at strengthening the partnership between the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and SADC on regional disaster preparedness and response.
Ms. Amos also met representatives of the private sector, to explore ways of working together more closely on humanitarian response and visited a UNICEF-sponsored Sports for Development programme for youth in the Kempton Park area near Johannesburg.
“I thank the Government and people of South Africa for their generosity in co-hosting the World Humanitarian Summit consultation with Ethiopia, and for their leadership and commitment to helping chart a course for new ways of thinking, new ways of preparing for and responding to disaster,” said Ms. Amos. “South Africa has the resources and capacity to be a key player in humanitarian assistance on the continent.”
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