Norway would like to thank the Secretary-General for an important report that reminds us of the challenges we are facing – in terms of both responding to and preparing for humanitarian emergencies.
It is also timely to take due note of the progress made over the past year with regard to reforming and financing the humanitarian system, enlarging the donor base and strengthening the focus on disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.
On the other hand, as we have recently seen in Myanmar, access to life-saving assistance is not a given. Respect for humanitarian principles and the humanitarian space is under constant pressure, as the many attacks on UN and other humanitarian personnel across the world bear witness to.
We agree with the Secretary-General’s call for efforts to address the humanitarian impacts of climate change. Governments should invest in the full range of priorities set out in the Hyogo Framework for Action, including institution-building, risk assessment, mitigation, education and preparedness. Adaptation to climate change – as a first line of defence – is also urgent.
We attach particular importance to the Secretary-General’s recommendation for intensified research on the likely humanitarian impacts of climate change. In this connection, we request the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to help member states to improve their understanding of the risks and vulnerabilities that changes in climate will entail.
Together with the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), Norway will table a revised proposal for an IPCC Special Report on the Management of Extreme Events at the forthcoming IPCC meeting in Geneva in September. The proposed report would also shed light on how climate hazards impact on existing patterns of human security, vulnerability and risk.
We ask member states to give their support to this proposal. Norway would be happy to host a scoping workshop to help the process forward.
The present food crisis is of great concern to Norway. The stories from Afghanistan of parents having to sell their children in order to buy food are heartbreaking.
We welcome the Secretary-General’s decision to set up a High Level Task Force on Global Food Security. We are looking forward to the presentation of the Comprehensive Framework for Action.
In the short term, the increased humanitarian needs for food, nutrition and health services must be met. We must all respond to the call for more humanitarian resources.
There is much more to this crisis than a dramatic rise in food prices, and structural causes cannot and should not be addressed by the humanitarian community alone. But clearly, this is the time for the Food Security Team Groups at field level to fulfil their mandates, in close cooperation with national authorities.
The increase in humanitarian crises means we will have more early recovery challenges to face. Generally we use the term “early recovery” to describe the activities taking place after a humanitarian crisis, rather than before the commencement of development cooperation. The reason for making this distinction is that we consider the aftermath period to be strategically important for vulnerable countries in terms of building back better – adapting better to climate change and introducing disaster risk reduction measures.
Norway would like to encourage closer coordination by the UN, member states and partners to ensure more effective planning and response in this critical phase.
The recommendations in the report are important. However, we would have liked to see more concrete recommendations directed to the UN and other partners.
Only one recommendation is directed specifically to the UN: the one on gender. We would like to underline that this recommendation should also be directed to individual member states, as well as to the UN and its humanitarian partners.
Today, we have the instruments we need to ensure that the humanitarian response addresses the different needs of women and men, girls and boys. Manuals, guidelines and sex-disaggregated data have been produced. We now have to make systematic use of them – through UNDAC teams, clusters, CAPs, the CERF and other financing mechanisms. And we have to report much more systematically on how gender-sensitive response measures impact on the humanitarian situation on the ground.
This would be an important step towards better coordination of the UN’s emergency assistance efforts, and would enhance the equity and accountability of its humanitarian response.