December 5, 2016

Humanitarian Affairs Segment of ECOSOC

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Mr. Menelaos Menelaou

United Nations, 29 June 2016

Thank you Mr. Chair.

Cyprus aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and would like to add some remarks in its national capacity. 

The World Humanitarian Summit last month has been of great importance. As humanitarian crises around the world continue to persist and grow, it is imperative that we collectively commit to facing these challenges and reform humanitarian policies guided the lessons learnt from past and present practice. It is crucial that there is more connection between humanitarian and development policies, in order to safeguard the longer-term well-being of communities in need of humanitarian assistance.

It is highly important that assistance is provided in a more effective way and that local communities are more involved and empowered. We have to work so that no one is left behind and, in this framework, decisively address the issue of forced displacement. Humanitarian policies have to be gender responsive, while women and girls have to be seen as powerful actors, not only as victims. We need to reduce disaster and climate-related risks. We need to work meaningfully toward preventing conflict rather than dealing with it after it erupts. Furthermore, it is greatly important that we exhibit our commitment to the principles of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. These are only a few of the issues we have to rethink and re-organize in the way we do business.

Mr. Chair,

Cyprus, demonstrating its commitment to the aims of the WHS has participated at the Summit at the highest level and made a significant number of commitments at the Summit, both within the European Union and nationally. Our national commitments include, notably, a commitment to transform our national humanitarian system by designing a National Humanitarian Policy Plan, which will review the follow-up on the commitments expressed at the WHS and include five-year strategic planning of Cyprus’ humanitarian assistance. The Policy Plan will work towards ensuring coherence between humanitarian and development actors, allocation of un-earmarked funding, funding for hosts of refugees, and reducing risks of man-made and natural disasters.

Mr. Chair,

Regrettably, during this highly important Summit, convened by the UN Secretary General, the host country’s stance towards my country was disappointing and in disregard of the UN principles and relevant UN resolutions. We find this to be totally inappropriate, even more so because this was a Summit, which, inter alia, aimed at upholding international law.

In moving towards the follow-up to the Summit, it is important that we ensure a collective discussion and deliberations at the UN level, without allowing any political distractions downplaying what is at stake in the effort, which began at the WHS.

I thank you.