Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ closing remarks to the high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, in Geneva today:
It is time for us to conclude our work. I would like to express my deep gratitude to our two Co-Chairs, to Margot Wallström and Didier Burkhalter, Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and Switzerland.
And I would like also to thank all those who made possible this pledging conference, working hard to create all the conditions necessary for it to take place in the excellent set-up in which we were able to operate.
As you remember, we were asking for the support to a total number of needs of $2.1 billion, and I can announce that we have reached more than half of that amount, which for the initial pledging conference of a process is a remarkable success. We have obtained $1.1 billion — exactly $1,098,466,634 — which, as I said, represents for the first-ever pledging conference of humanitarian nature for Yemen, a remarkable success.
And I am convinced that in the months to come — we are only in April — we will be able to gather the amounts of money that are necessary to fully implement our programme. I want to express my deep [gratitude] to all the Member States and to all the entities of the civil society, [non-governmental organizations], that have pledged and that have pledged so generously today.
We are not taking into account the extremely important contribution of the World Bank. The World Bank is investing massively in Yemen at the present moment, both with the increase of grants, cash interventions and new innovative facilities for allowing the private sector to do food imports. That would naturally increase very substantially the amounts pledged today, but due to the different nature of these contributions, we are not including them in the results of the pledging conference. But, I want to express my deep appreciation to the World Bank for its very strong commitment in support of the people of Yemen.
Now, in order to be able for this very important financial support to materialize in the response to the needs of the Yemen people, there are three main things that need to be now guaranteed, and they are: access, access and access. It is absolutely essential that the parties to the conflict respect international humanitarian law and allow for unhindered movement of humanitarian actors to reach those in need of humanitarian aid. Access is the key for the success of this pledging conference to translate itself in effective support to the people of Yemen. And it is also essential that all the necessary infrastructure are allowed to operate in normal conditions, for the goods that are absolutely essential for the people of Yemen to be able to be imported and distributed.
I want once again to express my very deep gratitude to all the countries and other entities that have shown their solidarity with the people of Yemen. And if you allow me to repeat what I said at the beginning, if there is a people that deserve this kind of solidarity, it is the Yemeni people. They have shown in many circumstances [their] support to other people that have tried to find shelter and always found protection in Yemen when fleeing their own conflicts; they always managed to benefit from an enormous sense of generosity and solidarity from the people of Yemen.
It is time for the international community to pay back and in this moment of distress for the Yemenis, it is time for us all to show the same solidarity, the same support, to the people of Yemen. To all of you, thank you very much.