26 February 2019

Opening remarks at the press stakeout for the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

António Guterres

Ladies and gentlemen of the press,

Thank you very much for your presence.

Today’s pledging conference can be considered a success. The donors have pledged thirty percent more than last year to help address the dramatic humanitarian situation in Yemen: from two billion USD in the pledging conference of 2018 to 2.6 billion USD in the pledging conference 2019. Several countries have naturally increased their contributions, but I think it is fair to say that the two most relevant elements in this increase came from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. At the same time, it is our experience that a pledging conference is a starting point.  We believe that until the end of the year there will be many more forms of support, many more pledges made, and many more contributions in order to make sure that we address the extremely dramatic needs of the Yemeni people.

But I would like to end with two notes.

First, the Yemenis deserve this solidarity. Yemenis were able in the past to always open their borders to refugees coming from Somalia and other parts of the region, and doing so with enormous generosity, granting all Somalis prima facie refugee status. And when one sees the debate about refugees or migrants, namely in Europe, we understand how generous it is for a country like Yemen, a poor country like Yemen, with all the problems that Yemen always has, to have this very generous attitude of solidarity towards those that have been looking at Yemen as a place of protection. So, the solidarity that Yemenis have always given to refugees seeking their protection, now they deserve that solidarity from the international community.

And the second note is: there is no humanitarian solution for humanitarian problems.  It is very important to address the dramatic needs of Yemeni people in this terrible situation, but more important is to end the conflict.  We had an important moment in Stockholm in which it was possible to agree on a ceasefire in Hodeida and a number of other aspects.  We know there is hope for the end of the conflict, but we know we are also facing many obstacles in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.  But I can guarantee to all of you that, while we are facing those obstacles, we are convinced we will overcome those obstacles, and that the UN and myself will not give up in order to make sure that the Stockholm Agreement is implemented, and that with that we create the first step for peace to be re-established in Yemen.