International donors today pledged more than US$2 billion to support the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid to millions of people in Yemen during a pledging event in Geneva, co-chaired by the United Nations, Sweden and Switzerland.
“This pledging conference represents a remarkable success of international solidarity to the people of Yemen,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. He added that “humanitarian resources are very important, but they are not enough. We need unrestricted access everywhere inside Yemen and we need all the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law, and to protect civilians. Above all, we need a serious political process to lead to a political solution.”
Pledges were made by 40 Member States and organizations, including the Central Emergency Response Fund, for humanitarian action in Yemen in 2018. These pledges will support the UN and partners’ 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) which requires $2.96 billion for lifesaving assistance to 13 million people, and other activities. On 27 March, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates provided $930 million toward the YHRP which is reflected in today’s pledging result. Securing full funding for this plan remains an urgent priority.
“Funding won’t help if the assistance doesn’t reach the people in need, and lack of humanitarian access remains a key obstacle to organizations working in Yemen,” said Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate. “Humanitarian aid alone cannot be the response to the growing needs of the Yemeni people endangered by the armed conflict,” Switzerland’s Vice President Ueli Maurer pointed out. “A political solution must imperatively be found. Switzerland calls for a cessation of hostilities and invites all parties to join the negotiating table.”
During the event, Sweden and Switzerland organized a panel discussion on humanitarian access in Yemen based on the Presidential Statement of the UN Security Council adopted on March 15. The discussion aimed to identify concrete measures on how to facilitate access based on humanitarian principles and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. The humanitarian situation in Yemen is considered the worst in the world. Twenty-two million people – three-quarters of the population – require some form of humanitarian assistance.
Humanitarians scaled up response significantly in 2017 and increased the number of people reached with food assistance from 3 million to 7 million per month. With the rainy season starting this month, humanitarians will focus on ensuring families have sufficient food, step up vaccination campaigns and preposition supplies in high-risk areas to prevent a repetition of last year’s cholera outbreak. The full list of pledges is online https://bit.ly/2GtXrjW