Readout of the Secretary-General's conference call with regional organizations and UN agencies on the humanitarian situation in Libya
New York, 3 March 2011The Secretary-General convened a video and telephone conference call this morning with regional organizations and UN agencies to discuss the humanitarian situation in Libya and on its borders. This was the first meeting of its kind, involving not only the UN agencies but also other regional and international organizations to reflect the urgency of the situation and the shared desire to act with unity of purpose.
Senior officials from the following organizations and bodies took part in the call with the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General: the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the International Organization for Migration, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe along with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Development Programme, UNICEF, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and the Department of Political Affairs. The African Union leadership was unable to join the call but offered its support and will be briefed.
All the participating organizations joined in urgently appealing to the Libyan authorities to allow immediate and unimpeded access into Libya to determine humanitarian needs and provide assistance inside the country should it be required, including in the west.
They agreed to further strengthen their coordination to deal with the developing humanitarian situation in Libya.
They noted assistance had been scaled up significantly in the past 24 hours. But they agreed a high priority was assisting people to move away from the border areas and helping people return to their countries of origin. In addition, there is a strong need for urgent relief – food, water, sanitation and shelter to the thousands on both sides of the Tunisian and Egyptian borders due to significant population movements, mainly of migrant workers. It is also necessary to prepare for a further possible escalation of humanitarian needs should conditions deteriorate inside Libya.
Those on the call expressed their sincere thanks for the strong support provided by the Tunisian and Egyptian authorities, and their people, to those leaving Libya and to the organizations working to assist them.
The Secretary-General made clear he intends to name a special envoy shortly.
He also emphasized that political change must be locally owned and locally led. He stressed the need to monitor the situation as it evolves.