Introductory remarks by H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly, at informal meeting of the plenary to hear a briefing by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations on the occasion of the launch of the SG’s Report for the World Humanitarian Summit
Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, distinguished guests, good morning and
welcome to the launch of the Secretary General’s Report for the World Humanitarian Summit.
I thank the Secretary-General and his team for preparing this report and for taking the initiative to organize the World Humanitarian Summit on 23 and 24 May in Istanbul.
The launch of this report and the holding of the Summit itself is of course incredibly timely.
The grave situation facing some 60 million displaced people and some 125 million people in need of humanitarian assistance continues to demand our most urgent attention.
As I speak, thousands of Syrian civilians are suffering under the latest escalations of bombings and violence while unforgivably, basic humanitarian assistance continues to be denied to many.
And at the same time, desperate men, women and children from Asia, the Middle East and Africa continue to die as they travel overseas in search of a safer and better future.
Faced with this unprecedented crisis, many governments have responded generously with increased financial and other contributions.
Just last week significant pledges were made for the Syria crisis while the Secretary General moved to allocate $100 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to nine underfunded emergencies, eight of which are in Africa.
But in truth, our efforts thus far have been far from adequate.
The comprehensive, well-resourced and sustained action that this crisis demands has simply not materialized.
And in the absence of credible and equitable political solutions; division, intolerance and xenophobia have begun to take hold.
Excellencies, these are worrying times.
And with the number of people in need of protection and assistance nearly doubling in the past decade; and at least 15 conflicts having erupted or reignited in the past five years, the current crisis is but an example of the challenges we will continue to face well into the future.
The United Nations must step forward.
Over recent months, the General Assembly has held a number of meetings and briefings on this clearly global humanitarian and refuges crisis.
And building on the World Humanitarian Summit, a High Level Meeting on large movements of migrants and refugees will take place in September.
But Istanbul is our first major opportunity since the 2030 Agenda was agreed to give true meaning to the principle of leaving no one behind and to devise more credible, equitable and sustainable responses to global humanitarian crises.
The Secretary General and his team will provide details on his vision and his proposals to make this happen; and I stand ready to support him however I can over the coming months.
But at its core, his report is an urgent plea to political and others leaders to summon the courage to reverse the current slide – a slide that is undermining everything this organization stands for; everything that we as fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers should care for.
It is a desperate plea to reassert the basic codes and norms that collectively, we agreed to abide by, to protect the world’s most vulnerable people – international humanitarian law; international human rights law and international refugee law.
In this context, I urge all 193 member states to get behind the Secretary General’s vision;
To participate at the highest level at the Summit itself;
And to deliver real commitments so that the current desperation and disorder is replaced by genuine hope and a plan that is commensurate with the humanitarian challenges we face today.