London, 7 March 2013
Chatham House hosted a panel discussion today in London ahead of the Friends of Yemen meeting held on 7th March. The event brought together representatives from the governments of the UK and Yemen, Yemeni civil society and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The panel discussion comprised of two sessions. The first session, chaired by Dr Hany El-Banna, Founder and President of The Humanitarian Forum, discussed the priorities of Yemeni civil society and perspectives of local NGOs. Speakers included Mr Mohamed Murad Mutahar, Founder of Hemmat Shabab Foundation; Mr Rafat Al-Akhali, Co-Founder and Chair of Resonate! Yemen; and Ms. Jamila Ali Rajaa, Founder and Manager of Consult-Yemen.
As part of his opening remarks, Dr El-Banna, said: “Without Yemen, there is no stability in the Middle East.
“According to consultations carried out in Yemen, 86% of local civil society organisations expressed a desire to engage with the government of Yemen to support the transition. The majority of organisations believed that the Friends of Yemen should consult with civil society before their conferences take place. This presents an excellent opportunity for the Friends of Yemen to integrate civil society organisations into their planning and actions.”
Other topics that were discussed included the crucial role entrepreneurship plays in the creation of jobs and economic growth in Yemen, and mobilising youth segments in Yemen.
The second session was chaired by Dr Claire Spencer, Head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, and highlighted the topics that will be presented in the Friends of Yemen meeting tomorrow. The speakers were His Excellency Dr Abu-Bakr Al-Qirbi, Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr Alistair Burt, Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and His Excellency Mr Jamal Benomar, the United Nations’ Special Adviser on Yemen.
As part of his presentation, Mr Burt, said: “The humanitarian situation in Yemen does not get enough attention in the UK.
“The UK government strongly supports national dialogue and the integration of women into Yemeni society. The UK will fund a further £70 million over the next two years to provide humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people. We believe that Yemen presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate how we can all work together.”
Dr Al-Qirbi said: “We hope that the Friends of Yemen meeting taking place tomorrow will offer concrete solutions to tackle the country’s most dire issues. In particular, the Friends of Yemen should take real action to resolve the humanitarian crisis and put an end to poverty and food insecurity. The international community should get involved to address those challenges, especially since the Yemeni crisis poses a threat to the stability of the region as a whole.”
The panel discussion, titled ‘Friends of Yemen: Aid and Accountability’, was organised by Chatham House, The Humanitarian Forum, Yemen Relief & Development Forum, Mercy Corps, Islamic Relief, International Medical Corps, CARE International and Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin).
The Humanitarian Forum
233 Shaftesbury Avenue
+44 (0) 20 7845 7612