21 January 2016

At Davos Meeting, Secretary-General Calls for Predictable Consistency in Sustainable Way of Funding, Providing Humanitarian Support

Just three days ago in Dubai we had a very successful launching of the Financing for Humanitarian meeting led by Madame [Kristalina] Georgieva of the European Union and also His Highness, the Prince of Malaysia — of course there were many distinguished members including Mr. [Badr] Jafar.

As you know, when I began as the Secretary-General in 2007.  But this data starts from 2006.  At that time, the United Nations appealed to the world for $3.4 billion.  This may not be correct, but it is something around there — less than $4 billion for global humanitarian needs.  Now it has increased at least five times as of last year.

And that is why OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) and the United Nations have appealed for at least $20 billion.  And, this humanitarian financing report asks for a minimum $20 billion.  It’s huge.  If you consider that we are living in global economic difficulty at this time — financial — not a single country is having a brighter prospect for international economic growth.  The oil price is going down and etc.

This will give us a lot of difficulty, but the number of people has increased, I think, exponentially over last nine years.  I think it is quite sad, heart-breaking.  And, the Syrian crisis is now going to meet its sixth year.  It will complete five years by March.  Anyway, this is a very serious time.

While we are very much excited that we have shown some great strength in diplomacy, multilateralism by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals and the Climate Change Agreement in Paris.

But, there are still more than 60 million people displaced and refugees.  And, the record number of 125 million people who need urgent humanitarian assistance.  If we bring all of them into one place and establish one sovereign State, this country will become the eleventh largest, biggest country, only next to Japan.  This is what statistics show.

So are we able, are we able to support this huge country, 125 million population?  Every day?  Starting from breakfast until dinner, and feeding, clothing, educating, sanitation.  So, we are in a very difficult position.

But I believe that in a world where almost $8 trillion of GDP (gross domestic product), and maybe $200 trillion financial institutions are now mobilizing, only $20 billion, or something around there, should not be a big issue, if there is will, a political will.

That's the main purpose of having a humanitarian meeting.  Unless the situation is as such, we would not have initiated a World Humanitarian Summit meeting in Tokyo, the first ever.  So we should have some predictable consistency of a sustainable way of funding and providing humanitarian support.  That's the basic purpose of our meeting.  So this is a preparatory meeting at the political level.  As you know, we have already had many regional consultations during the course of the last two, three years.  Therefore, we believe we have got all the support from Member States.

Now, this agenda for humanity defines five shared responsibilities.  The first:  ensuring global leadership and political will to prevent and end all these crises.  Second:  respecting the norms that safeguard humanity.  Third:  leaving no-one behind.  This is the main theme of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Fourth:  moving from delivering aid to ending need.  We need to address the root causes.  Ending the violence.  And, ending this need, and including, by bridging the humanitarian and development divide.  This is not a zero-sum game.  We cannot just put all this development aid to humanitarian or humanitarian aid towards development.  This has to work together.  And fifth:  diversifying and optimizing the financing sources.

This are five basic principles.  If I may say about my personal experience:  when I was a boy, six years old, in 1950, you know what happened in Korea, the Korean War.  I was one of many people who were fleeing for shelter and for food.  We were very poor and very hungry at the time.  At that time was the first time I saw and met the United Nations, the United Nations flag.  At that time I believed Korea was just one of a very few hot places, hot spots, but the biggest crisis at that time.  So, there was lot support — UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) — and all international humanitarian support.  I was raised with that, with the help of United Nations fund, humanitarian support.

So, I am just very much committed to help so many boys and girls and women and vulnerable people around the world.  And, I really need your strong support and leadership.

For information media. Not an official record.