Addis Ababa

31 January 2016

Secretary-General’s remarks to the Ethiopia humanitarian donors roundtable

Welcome to this Donor Round Table. I thank the Government of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Humanitarian Community for organizing this important platform at a challenging time.

Ethiopia is battling the effects of one of the most powerful El Niño events in recorded history, made worse by the impact of climate change.

The people of this beautiful country are facing their worst drought in thirty years.

The scale of the emergency is too much for any single Government. The impact of El Niño is unpredictable, but experts say it is likely to affect food security for the next two years.

The international community must stand with the people of Ethiopia in their time of need.

The Government of Ethiopia has shown remarkable leadership in this drought response. It has made the greatest financial contribution, allocating more than $381 million to the crisis so far.

The Productive Safety Net Programme, run by the Government in partnership with the World Bank, is aiming to assist some 8 million people with emergency food and cash transfers.

The United Nations boosted early action through some $25 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund in 2015. But more is urgently needed.

Immediate support for Ethiopia will save lives and avoid preventable suffering.

Immediate support will also safeguard the impressive development gains that Ethiopia has made over the past years and decades. It will strengthen Ethiopia’s national distribution channels and social support networks, and build resilience for the future.

The Sustainable Development Goals agreed last year are based on the promise to leave no one behind.

Humanitarian crises are the main reason why some hundred million people are currently left far behind, in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere.

The World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May will be an opportunity to ensure that we start supporting those furthest behind first. I hope you are already engaged in the Summit process. We need to hear your voices in Istanbul.

By contributing to humanitarian aid, you are helping to fulfil the international community’s pledge to the most vulnerable.

Support for the Ethiopian Government and people through this crisis will be a critical test of our commitment to implementing the SDGs.

We face unrelenting humanitarian needs around the world. Many are generated by conflict and displacement. These human-made crises are extremely difficult to resolve and can last for years or even decades.

But the needs generated by El Niño are limited. We know it will pass, and the situation will improve. This crisis will end.

Until it does, I urge you to make the investment that is needed now, to support the Ethiopian Government and people through the difficult times ahead, and to build for the future.

Thank you.