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Updated On: Saturday, May 27 2017

Yemen Pledging Conference Raises $1.1 Billion

Content by: South-South News

26 April 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — At the end of a one-day pledging conference for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen on April 25, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced that donor countries had pledged nearly $1.1 billion -- a little more than half the amount needed -- to help scale up life-saving aid to millions of people in need.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, he said “We have asked for 2.1 billion dollars to respond to the humanitarian needs of Yemen until the end of 2017. In the pledging conference we have been able to achieve more than half of that amount. What is taken into account is the effect that we are only in April which represents a very encouraging signal that indeed we will be able to achieve our target by the end of the year.”

Yemen is the world largest humanitarian crisis with close to 19 million people – two thirds of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance. The pledging conference at the United Nations in Geneva, co-hosted by Switzerland and Sweden, aimed to raise funds for the relief efforts of the Yemeni population.

Guterres said “now what absolute matters is the possibility to make sure that the amount that was raised is translated into effective support to the people of Yemen and that is why in the closing session I said that we basically need three things: Access, access and access.”

The complex emergency in Yemen is man-made and has deteriorated significantly since hostilities between armed groups loyal to the Government ant Houthi militias escalated in March 2015. More than 10 million extremely vulnerable Yemenis require immediate assistance, according to UN estimates.

Guterres also said, “If one takes into account that Yemen is a relatively forgotten crisis compared to with others, I think that this pledging conference represents a remarkable recognition by the international community of the needs to support Yemeni people.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, a co-host of the conference together with Switzerland, told reporters, “We think that this is a good result and we thank everybody that has participated and contributed in the way you have." Pointing to a read heart pin that she wore on her dress, Wallström said, "You know, I put the heart on - I think it was with a heart that everybody spoke today, and this is important not to forget.”

The two-year long conflict in Yemen has already displaced more than 3.3 million people and resulted in a breakdown in public services. Access to health facilities and safe water is increasingly difficult, with an increased risk for the spread of communicable diseases.

Didier Burkhalter, the Swiss Foreign Minister, emphasized the need for "more access, more respect and also more peace." He said, "More access across the battle lines, more respect of international humanitarian law and above all, protecting the rights of children and more peace." He added, "If there is a cessation of hostilities and it can be the first step for resuming the peace talks, and as for Switzerland we are ready anytime to host peace talks.”

Guterres opened the conference saying the world was “witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation” in Yemen and called on the international community to protect millions of lives by financing urgent humanitarian aid in the country.

He noted that a child under five dies in the country of preventable causes every ten minutes on average which meant “fifty children in Yemen will die during today’s conference.” The Secretary-General stressed, “We are here today to turn the tide of suffering, and to create hope” adding that the international community has the power and the means to end the crisis.

Burkhalter said humanitarian crisis in Yemen was “largely a human-made crisis and therefore it can be mitigated if all parties have the political will.” He called on the all parties to the conflict to allow access to humanitarian aid along the lines of combat and stressed that “aid must reach those who need it most and must not be exploited.”

Wallström said a political solution is the only way to reach sustainable peace and development in Yemen. She said the international community had been “slow in reacting to the enormous humanitarian needs in Yemen, with only 15 percent of the humanitarian response plan funded”, and called on delegates to “change that here today.”

Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid Mubarek Bin-Dagher said his government supported the UN’s humanitarian aid plan for his country as millions “are waiting and in need of” it and “some of them are writhing with hunger.” He said, “We should work on raising a minimum of $2.1 billion in funds.”

Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $150 million in addition to the $100 million it had provided since the beginning of 2017 and the bilateral humanitarian aid.

The two-year long conflict in Yemen has displaced more than 3.3 million people and resulted in a breakdown in public services. Access to health facilities and safe water is increasingly difficult, with an increased risk for the spread of communicable diseases.

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