Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Preventing today’s challenges from turning into tomorrow’s humanitarian crises – UK statement at the General Assembly [December 2022]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 6 December 2022.

Ambassador James Kariuki outlines the UK’s vision for the humanitarian system to the UN General Assembly.

Thank you Mr President, and good afternoon colleagues.

Every year, we meet here to reflect on the global humanitarian picture, and to look ahead to how we can respond to future challenges.

Yet again, we are faced with a sobering picture.

In 2023, 339 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance – an increase of 25% from this year.

These are not just numbers.

They represent individual lives.

People suffering the impacts of both new and protracted conflicts.

People are hit simultaneously by droughts and floods driven by climate change.

People who are the most vulnerable to the global energy and food crisis caused by Russia’s choice to illegally invade Ukraine, in a year that should have been the year of recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic.

To tackle the magnitude of global challenges, we need a shared vision, and the collective political will to deliver it.

Mr President, the UK’s International Development Strategy, launched in May this year, is a commitment to the world’s most vulnerable. It sets out how we will ensure a more effective international response to humanitarian crises.

We will deliver this in three areas.

Firstly, we will push for the system to prioritise limited resources effectively, including towards the one million people who are living in famine or famine-like conditions in Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan.

We will do this by ensuring that humanitarian responses are accountable, data-driven and cost effective. And we will continue to champion the scale-up of digital cash transfers as an effective and dignified way to deliver assistance.

Secondly, we will continue to use our voice to protect the most vulnerable, and to uphold International Humanitarian, Human Rights and Refugee Law.

We will use our position on the UN Security Council to enable unhindered access to those in need, including 4.1 million people in North-West Syria this winter. And we will use all the tools at our disposal to ensure accountability for those who violate the humanitarian principles and the UN Charter in Ukraine.

We will also deliver on our commitments at last week’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Conference, bolstering our support to local, women-led organisations. These are vital to the humanitarian response, and to ensuring that women and girls are free from violence, and able to meet their full potential.

Finally, we will use our expertise to prevent today’s problems from turning into tomorrow’s crises.

We will leverage UK networks in the private sector, climate science and academia to deepen early warning expertise, promote innovation and strengthen systems to prevent and anticipate shocks.

And we will use our position on the boards of the International Financial Institutions to unlock the finance for these efforts, such as the doubling of the World Bank’s Early Response Financing to $1 billion, which we helped to secure this year.

Building on sustained advocacy at COP 26 and COP 27, we will continue to push for an increase in access to climate finance in climate vulnerable countries with the highest levels of humanitarian need. This will help communities adapt to new challenges with dignity and agency.

Mr President, with needs soaring every year, the UK humanitarian vision is not an ideal, but rather, a necessity. Today we are asking for all of you to join us in delivering it.