Prince of Monaco calls for reinforcing UN’s emergency relief office

Prince Albert II of the Principality of Monaco. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

24 September 2013 – Citing a host of crises, from conflicts to natural disasters, Prince Albert II of Monaco today called for increased resources for the United Nations office that coordinates international relief for humanitarian emergencies.

“The evolution of elements which engender humanitarian emergency situations in effect demands that we examine the means for intervention which our Organisation has at its disposal,” he told the General Assembly on the first day of its annual General Debate.

“Conflicts, natural catastrophes, climate change, environmental degradation: we must acknowledge that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to which I express my profound gratitude, must have the necessary means and resources to carry out the mandate with which we have entrusted it.”

OCHA was set up in 1998, replacing the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA), with an expanded mandate to mobilize effective humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies, advocate the rights of people in need, promote preparedness and prevention and facilitate sustainable solutions.

In a wide-ranging speech that touched on many of the crises and challenges facing the world, Prince Albert cited the post-2015 development agenda which is the theme of the this year’s General Assembly, the world body’s 68th. He joined many leaders in discussing that and other issues of national and international concern during today’s session of the Debate, which warps up on 1 October.

The year 2015 is the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that set specific goals on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a global partnership for development, and Assembly President John Ashe has said the current sessions must lay the groundwork for global sustainable development in the years following the end of the current development cycle.

“It is in a sombre international context that we are going to define the post-2015 development agenda, which will set the foundation stone of our Organization’s work and will be a crucial element for basing its political legitimacy for the decades to come,” the prince said.

He also called for limiting human activities that adversely affect the climate and the environment, condemned the use of chemical; weapons and the suffering of civilians in the Syrian civil warm and deplored recent militant attacks in Kenya, Iraq and Pakistan.

“The stakes are high,” Prince Albert concluded. “Those of us who wish to reaffirm the central place of our Organization in international governance must endow it with the means to ensure this leadership role by being ambitious and resolute in our mission.”

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