On behalf of the Italian Government, I wish to thank the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, for providing us with such a useful update on the recent activities carried out through the Central Emergency Response Fund.
Mr. Chairman, despite the unprecedented level of humanitarian funding, the international community continues to face serious challenges fueled by an upsurge in conflict, natural disasters and human suffering. The protracted nature and the regional dimension of most of the humanitarian crises produced a significant impact in terms of humanitarian consequences, resulting in a deep gap between needs and resources available to satisfy those needs.
In this regard, Italy continues to acknowledge the success of CERF in boosting effective humanitarian coordination by improving the speed, equity and predictability of humanitarian assistance. We remain committed to relying on CERF as a flexible, rapid and strategic instrument to secure both rapid funding for severe, urgent humanitarian interventions and for the so-called “forgotten crises”.
From our side, we are putting our best efforts to serve the needs of people in complex emergencies worldwide, allocating growing resources for the humanitarian assistance, mainly in the Middle East, in West Africa and in countries affected by “El Niño” as well as in the Lake Chad Basin, enhancing our capacity to tackle root causes of these crises and trying to give hope and dignity to the most vulnerable categories of the civilian population, especially youth.
As we announced at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul Italy has increased by 34% its humanitarian budget in 2016 and we are going to further increase our budget next year and possibly in 2018. These figures reflect concretely the growing importance that we attach to humanitarian assistance also in view of mitigating the migration influx, which is severely affecting my country.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to seize this opportunity to reaffirm Italy’s full support to CERF. With the approval of increased allocations by the Italian Government for Official Development Assistance in 2017, I am very pleased to announce that Italy will confirm its annual contribution to the Fund, for a total amount of 2 million euro.
At the same time, we should commit to use more efficiently the resources available. Quality of our aid is also crucial. Aid effectiveness demands cost-effectiveness, transparency and mutual accountability on the use of funding, as well as ownership and collaboration with local authorities. It is fundamental to join forces to respond to crises, strengthening the collaboration among different donors as well as between humanitarian and development actors.
Italy has subscribed the “grand bargain” between donors and implementing Agencies proposed by the Secretary General at the World Humanitarian Summit and we encourage other donors to do the same.
Allow me to conclude with a final remark: resources are essential but our action on the ground needs also to be always combined with a strong advocacy in favor of the universal values of the humanitarian assistance: the values of dignity, integrity and solidarity are universal. They are at the core of all cultures, regardless of geography, ethnicity or religion. The humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence are a concrete expression of these shared values.
Defending the “spirit of Solferino”, allowing full and unimpeded access to the civilian population under siege or in difficult to reach areas, protecting the civilian nature of schools and hospitals, save-guarding the security of the humanitarian staff, respecting the principles of distinction and proportionality in the use of military weapons is today crucial. These are the biggest challenges that we have to face today with determination, these are the goals that we should continue to pursue with resolve.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.