Under Secretary-General Valerie Amos statement to third Annual Conference on Strengthening Humanitarian Action

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 12 Sep 2012

Welcome to this third annual conference to promote humanitarian partnerships and information sharing. It is a great pleasure to be here again.

Thank you to the Government of Kuwait and the IICO for hosting this meeting. And thank you to the Advisory Board of the Effective Partnership and Information Sharing Initiative, who have done such a good job of organizing the conference.

When I started this job as UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, I made it one of my top priorities to build stronger partnerships with Governments, NGOs, academic institutions and businesses.

There was a simple reason for this. We can’t really call ourselves a global humanitarian system if we are not inclusive and diverse.

So I am very proud to be here today with a bigger and more diverse group of Governments, institutions, NGOs and businesses than ever -- from the Gulf, Turkey,
Europe, New Zealand and elsewhere. Every kind of organization is represented here: big and small; Government and non-Government; national and international.

As the number of humanitarian disasters and emergencies grows every year, as a result of global trends such as urbanisation, environmental degradation, climate change and migration, we need to work together to make maximum use of the resources available to use and to minimise duplication.

In 2011, the UN coordinated humanitarian relief for 56 million people in 33 countries.
But overall needs were even greater than that. Disasters and emergencies affected 245 million people and caused record-breaking economic losses of $366 billion.

As the World’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, I am responsible for coordinating the humanitarian response from United Nations agencies like the refugee agency, UNHCR, the children’s agency, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme, and with all international humanitarian aid organizations, including NGOs like Direct Aid and the Qatar Foundation, to ensure a swift and effective global response to natural and manmade disasters around the world.

My job, and that of my organization, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is to consult interested stakeholders including governments, NGOs, donors and relief agencies, and to agree priorities, share information, and to make sure that aid goes where it is needed most, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

One of the core missions of OCHA is to build partnerships that facilitate coordination between relief agencies, improve the sharing of information and our collective response to crises around the world. The support from this region and the response capacity has grown year on year.

Two years ago, there were 100 participants in this conference. Last year there were 150, and this year – half from outside Kuwait.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.