EMBARGOED TO THE MEDIA UNTIL TUESDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2003, 1100 HRS NEW YORK TIME
Statement by the President of the Security Council at the Humanitarian Appeal at the Global Launch of the Consolidated Appeals for 2004
I am honored to join you this morning at this very important event in my capacity as President of the Security Council.
The annual launch of the Consolidated Appeals Process, known as the CAP, provides an opportunity to draw the world's attention to the plight of millions people living in appalling conditions in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. The theme of the Humanitarian Appeal 2004, “Hear Our Voices”, focuses that attention where it belongs: on the individual human beings suffering from the deprivation brought on by conflict and disaster.
As President of the Security Council, I am pleased to report that the Council is stressing the impact of conflict on people caught in war and disaster to an increasing degree. In recent years, the Security Council has highlighted the plight of civilians in armed conflict and humanitarian issues more generally. The Council is painfully aware that innocent civilians in the course of today’s conflicts are subject to widespread human rights abuses, such as rape and other sexual violence, as well as deliberate mass displacement . Their suffering is often compounded by denial of humanitarian aid resulting from restrictions on access to aid agencies and threats to the safety of the brave women and men whose job is to bring relief assistance to the needy.
In 2003, the Council has included considerations for the protection of civilians within the mandates of several peacekeeping missions. The mandates of MONUC in the DRC, ECOWAS and French forces in Cote d’Ivoire, and UNMIL in Liberia, for example, have all specifically included the protection of civilians.
Unfortunately, the Security Council has also had to deal with matters relating to the security of humanitarian personnel, who are under attack as never before. Recent tragic events in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate that aid workers are no longer only caught in the crossfire, they are now deliberately targeted. This is why the Security Council adopted a resolution calling for an end to impunity for those who deliberately harm aid workers or impede delivery of humanitarian assistance.
The Security Council is aware that without humanitarian assistance provided through the CAP, the conditions of people caught in many of the world’s conflicts would be far worse.
As the representative of a country that has been part of a CAP, I can say this with authority. While Angola was in the midst of conflict, UN Consolidated Appeals proved to be an indispensable tool for coordinating the response of UN agencies, NGOs, and our own government’s efforts in responding to needs created by conflict. Now with the conflict thankfully over in Angola, the CAP is as critical in guiding the humanitarian response to ease the transition from emergency to reconstruction and development. In our experience, the CAP is also helpful ---whether in emergency or in transition--- in providing a common platform for mobilizing support for humanitarian response.
I can tell you this, from the experience of Angola: humanitarian aid works. It saves lives and safeguards livelihoods. With the generous support of the international community the 2004 CAP will become an indispensable tool in helping countries, communities, and families recover from the effects of natural and man-made crises. The CAP can help individuals get back on their feet and regain control of their lives.
Earlier, the Secretary-General appealed to donors for US$ 3 billion to meet
the most urgent needs of the most vulnerable for a year. Let me add my voice
to his. The investment you make today will not only help save lives, it will
set the basis for self-sufficiency for people and their communities.