Secretary-General, at Humanitarian Funding Event, Says Proactive Sharing of Budget Information Would Help in Predicting Resource Needs for Life-Saving Work

25 January 2011

Secretary-General, at Humanitarian Funding Event, Says Proactive Sharing of Budget Information Would Help in Predicting Resource Needs for Life-Saving Work

25 January 2011
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, at Humanitarian Funding Event, Says Proactive Sharing of Budget


Information Would Help in Predicting Resource Needs for Life-Saving Work


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Humanitarian Funding Conference in Geneva today, 25 January:

Thank you for coming together in support of the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in some of the world’s most dire circumstances.

Last year, the international community faced difficult tests.  Among them were the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan, which brought some tremendous suffering.  But these calamities brought something else as well: a hopeful display of global solidarity.  Member States, non-governmental organizations, civil society and individuals around the globe who stepped up and showed the caring face of the international community.

I visited both of these disaster zones and saw the difference that support was making in people’s lives.  The global response to these tragedies was encouraging.  But we know that not all emergencies receive the same attention or resources.  Many appeals have had very low levels of funding.

We need to reverse that trend in 2011.  Humanitarian needs are growing.  More people are relying on us for life-saving and life-sustaining support.  More support has been needed than ever before.  That is why the humanitarian appeal we launched in November requests $7.4 billion.

Most international humanitarian action depends on voluntary contributions by Member States, supplemented by private donations.  Collectively, we all need to make extra efforts to secure sufficient and predictable funding for urgent, life-saving humanitarian work.  We should not leave the resourcing of humanitarian action to chance.

We at the United Nations will continue to draw from lessons learned to strengthen leadership, improve accountability and build capacity.  We will also work to better integrate disaster risk reduction and preparedness as well as climate change adaptation measures.

At the same time, all Member States can do more to reach their full potential as humanitarian donors.  That is why I have made this issue one of my eight strategic priorities for the year 2011.  We are focused on how we may more effectively and efficiently respond to humanitarian crises to save even more lives.

I know that this is a time of heavy financial pressure on budgets for all countries.  It can take an extraordinary political effort to secure resources for international aid, even when it is clearly needed to save lives.

The United Nations remains determined to ensure that these efforts succeed.  But to help you better, we need your help.  When Member States share information proactively on their aid budgets, we can forecast and plan.  If we knew better today what resources we will have for the year ahead, we could influence budget cycles early, before numbers are locked in place.

There are already some encouraging steps in this direction.  The European Commission, for some years, has published its humanitarian aid budgets clearly at the start of each budget cycle.  The United States Government recently launched a website that shows key data on foreign assistance budgets and appropriations.

Let me also mention Sweden.  When I chaired a similar event a few years ago, I recall the Swedish representative announcing his Government’s specific decisions on allocations among the various emergencies for that year.  I am pleased to note that Sweden has repeated this good practice ever since.

If a critical mass of Member States follows these and other good examples, then we will be in a position to know, at the beginning of each year, what resources are available for humanitarian action, and to prioritize accordingly.

The world’s economy has changed much since the modern humanitarian system was created some 20 years ago.  Some countries have enjoyed spectacular growth and now rank among the world’s largest economies.  Humanitarian giving has also expanded.  Many more Member States contribute to consolidated appeals now than 10 years ago, and still more contribute to the Central Emergency Response Fund, which in turn supports most appeals.

This is encouraging and this trend must continue.  Let us always remember that the international humanitarian system helps Governments to help their own people.  To meet their survival needs, the millions of people struck by crisis require the fullest possible generosity from all peoples and all Member States.

Thank you for your participation today and for your commitment to deliver for those in need.  I look forward to hearing your interventions regarding humanitarian aid in 2011.  Together, let us pledge to make a real difference in the lives of the most vulnerable people in the world.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.