The global humanitarian overview for 2023 presents a very grim picture. A record number of 339 million people are projected to be in need of humanitarian assistance, which is almost 24% higher than 2022. Acute food insecurity and imminent famine loom large as 45 million people in 37 countries face real risk of starvation. More than 1 per cent of global population are displaced, majority being hosted in developing and least developed countries. Many of such countries face compound humanitarian emergencies due to climate change, conflicts, rising food and fuel prices, economic downturn and debt crisis.
The overview also reveals disturbing global trends of ‘extremes’– extreme level of violent conflicts, extreme poverty and hunger, extreme weather patterns, and frequent natural disasters. These are not only escalating global humanitarian needs, they are also negatively affecting the capacity of public institutions both at the global and national level to prevent, prepare and respond to the humanitarian emergencies.
Against this backdrop we welcome today’s general debate under the agenda item 69 (a). We thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive reports and appreciate the useful recommendations provided in those reports. We believe these recommendations are going to help strengthen international efforts to respond to the growing humanitarian needs around the world more effectively and sustainably.
We also take this opportunity to express our deepest appreciations and tribute to all humanitarian personnel, volunteers and local responders for their courage, dedication and commitment to serve humanity in the face of challenges and threats.
As this Assembly is aware, Bangladesh is hosting over 1.2 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas who fled atrocities in Myanmar. Within our limited capacity, we are providing necessary humanitarian support to them. We are also providing Myanmar curriculum-based education in the camps for the Rohingya children and skill development programme for the Rohingya women and youth.
We appreciate the assistance provided by the international community, and the humanitarian operations run by the relevant UN agencies; however, we are concerned that the growing humanitarian needs at the global level are having negative impacts on the humanitarian assistance programme for the Rohingyas. Given the protracted nature of this crisis, we urge our partners to scale up efforts for international burden and responsibility sharing.
At the same time, we also stress the urgent need for increased international attention to the deteriorating situation in Myanmar, to create the conditions for the safe and sustainable return of the displaced Rohingyas to their homeland. The prolongation of the crisis will further compound the already complex political and humanitarian situation in Myanmar and for its neighbors hosting their persecuted minorities, including Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is a highly climate-vulnerable and disaster-prone country. Climate change in particular is affecting our food, energy, water, health and economic security and is also directly and indirectly forcing people to leave their homes and causing internal and cross border displacements.
We see growing needs for collection and sharing of data and evidence on displacements caused by multiple and intersecting sets of factors with a view to coordinated international response to this challenge.
We attach high importance to the work of the United Nation’s humanitarian and emergency relief assistance entities and support international efforts to help build resilient societies in order to respond to humanitarian challenges. Indeed, resolution 46/182 remains the cornerstone of all such efforts.
Allow me to underscore a few points in this regard:
First: We recognize the importance of transition from emergency response to preparedness and resilience-building as fundamental to any humanitarian situation. In preparing for that transition, the international community’s response mechanism should be tailored in accordance with national priorities and the situation on the ground. And this should be backed by sustainable, flexible and multi-year financing support and necessary expertise and technologies. It is also critical to have good coordination between national governments and other relevant actors, including UN agencies and local responders in addressing humanitarian situations on the ground.
Second: The international community must undertake development activities with a focus on building resilience and ultimately reducing dependency on humanitarian aid. It is imperative to ensure better cooperation between humanitarian and development actors including the IFIs to enable a smooth transition from relief dependency to sustained development. There must be a balance in funding between humanitarian and development work without compromising their respective priorities.
Third: We acknowledge the centrality of the role of women as first responders of humanitarian crises. Therefore, it is very important to further strengthen gender-responsive policy development for disaster-risk reduction and mitigation as well as in planning and implementation of all humanitarian response plans. In Bangladesh our National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security has integrated disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation as the priority context.
Fourth: The rising food insecurity and risks of famine in many parts of the world due to armed conflicts, extreme weather events including flood and drought as well as food, energy and economic crisis needs to be addressed urgently through concerted international efforts. We urge the development and international partners to extend their support to the countries that are shouldering disproportionate humanitarian burden and are also vulnerable to shocks. We commend in this regard the initiatives of Secretary General including establishment of the Global crisis Response group and appreciate the efforts of the group in addressing and mitigating rising food insecurity.
Finally: We remain concerned at the denial of humanitarian access in many conflict situations, and the indiscriminate armed attacks against humanitarian personnel and convoys, medical and peacekeeping personnel and civilian infrastructure essential to humanitarian operations. We would like to stress on the importance of ensuring accountability and justice in the event of any reported violence.
The three draft resolutions that are being considered today are going to be important instruments to better equip the UN’s humanitarian arms.
My delegation thanks the delegations of Sweden, and the EU for their extensive work on draft resolutions contained in document L.30 and L.35, which we are pleased to cosponsor. We are also grateful to the Chair of the G-77 and China for entrusting our delegation to coordinate and facilitate the resolution on natural disasters, which is contained in document L.32. We also express our sincere appreciation to all members of G-77 and China and other delegations for their constructive engagement, and support during the negotiations. We wish to also thank the Secretariat of the G77 and China and OCHA for their support during the negotiations stage.
We remain committed to the effective implementation of these four important resolutions.
I thank you.