Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, opening remarks at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen
Geneva, 3 April 2018
Thank you all for coming.
On 5 January, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) provided the first funding in 2018 to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan. We provided a grant of US$50 million. That was the largest ever grant provided under the CERF and it was possible only because a lot of you provide generous, core, un-earmarked contributions to the CERF. And I want to thank in particular the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway who are the largest contributors to the CERF.
I also wanted to thank all of you who have already contributed to this year's humanitarian response plan. In particular the governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who have provided not just a large contribution, but one which was prompt, unconditional, up front and rapidly disbursed.
As you know, we are seeking $3 billion for our appeal. And that is a substantial sum of money.
However, since we constructed the appeal, the Yemeni Rial has depreciated by 25 per cent. Because Yemen imports 90 per cent of its food, the price of food for most people has gone up by 25 per cent, forcing millions more Yemeni citizens into destitution. While the $3 billion looks like a lot of money, it is small in relation to the needs of the people in Yemen.
I want to assure you that the humanitarian response system has the capability and capacity to deliver an effective programme. There are 190 organizations, 150 of which are Yemeni, that work under the umbrella of the UN-coordinated humanitarian response plan.
The Secretary-General already told you that last year we scaled up assistance, including food assistance from 3 million people a month to 7 million a month. We have done exactly the same thing with water and health services and sanitation and other core services. So, we have the capability to deliver if we are well financed; and if also some other key conditions are met to enable humanitarian response to be effective.
Firstly, we need all the ports in Yemen to remain open without restrictions.
Secondly, we need public sector salaries to be paid across Yemen, including to prevent another cholera outbreak, and to keep children in school, and to provide essential public services.
Thirdly, we need better access across the country. We want to see Sana'a airport reopen to commercial flights, notably for humanitarian cases. But we want all of the parties to play a stronger role in facilitating access for humanitarian operations across the whole of Yemen.
Fourthly and most importantly, we want to see progress towards an end to fighting and for the parties to work together with the Special Envoy for a sustainable peace.
It is possible for us to make substantial progress in Yemen this year. Progress is not inevitable. It depends on what we all do.
Many Yemenis are counting on our support. Thank you very much indeed.