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UN CALLS FOR MORE SUPPORT FOR YEMEN AFTER HIGH-LEVEL PLEDGING EVENT
On 16 March 2022, the United Nations (UN) and the governments of Sweden and Switzerland cohosted a High-level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, bringing together representatives of Member States, international organizations, UN Agencies, NGOs and civil society to raise funding to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of millions of people after seven years of war. Some US$1.3 billion were pledged at the event, which is less than a third of the funds required to sustain lifesaving assistance programmes. Both the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres and the Under-SecretaryGeneral for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator,
Martin Griffiths, called for more support to address the increasing severity of needs in Yemen.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Guterres implored donors to support the UN-coordinated programmes to provide life-saving assistance to 17.3 million people in need across Yemen. He highlighted that a recent funding crunch had forced the UN to scale back or close around two-thirds of its assistance programmes in the country, including reducing food rations for eight million people. “The United Nations and our partners across Yemen are committed to ensuring the humanitarian response is effective, principled, and accountable. We are ready to keep supporting the Yemeni people – but we cannot do it alone. We need your help,” Mr. Guterres said. “I urge all donors to fund our appeal fully and commit to disbursing funds quickly.”
Mr. Griffiths echoed these remarks, explaining that when donors generously funded the humanitarian operation in Yemen, food insecurity rates decreased and disease outbreaks were swiftly met with adequate responses, but humanitarian needs grew rapidly when funding slowed down. He added that recent weeks have seen funding for the humanitarian operation dry up, leaving aid agencies no alternative but to close or reduce assistance programmes that millions of people rely on to survive.
Mr. Griffiths underscored the need to move towards more sustainable assistance, including long-term solutions to tackle the underlying drivers of this crisis, particularly the country’s collapsing economy. He also highlighted that the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan is based on three new nationwide needs assessments, giving aid agencies the most rigorous evidence base ever made available in Yemen. These assessments give humanitarian partners a richer understanding of the extent and severity of humanitarian needs, allowing them to better calibrate and streamline intervention prorgammes, targeting those most in need of assistance.
Speaking at the Security Council briefing on cooperation between the UN and the League of Arab States a week after the pledging event, Mr. Guterres said that he was “deeply disappointed” that the response plan received less than a third of the funds so urgently needed, urging Arab League members to support the Yemen aid operation. Similarly, Mr. Griffiths voiced his disappointment that some donors who have traditionally been strong supporters of the aid operation in Yemen did not give at the event but expressed hope that they would soon contribute.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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