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Humanitarian community takes action to stop famine in Yemen
The humanitarian situation in Yemen is alarming, with millions of people facing famine. On 1 June, the European Commission and Sweden co-hosted the third Humanitarian Senior Officials Meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: “Yemen remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with looming unprecedented famine. The EU is committed to support the people in need. I welcome the humanitarian community discussing how to better support the Yemeni population. I call on the parties to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian law and allow to deliver urgently needed aid to the affected population throughout Yemen.”
Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs Per Olsson Fridh stated: “We remain committed to supporting the Yemeni people, who have borne the brunt of this devastating conflict for more than 6 years. Today, we have reaffirmed our steadfast support to the lifesaving work of humanitarian actors and the collective message is clear: relief efforts must reach all Yemenis in need of emergency assistance and protection. The SOM approach is unique and has demonstrated that tangible improvements can be achieved when we speak with one voice as a humanitarian community. It is crucial that we jointly monitor progress and continue to push for more improvements.”
During the meeting, the participants expressed their continued concern about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, as the needs reach unprecedented levels and the threat of widespread famine remains as tangible as ever before. The humanitarian crisis is exacerbated by a collapsing economy, restricted access for humanitarian actors, continuing import restrictions and shortages of humanitarian funding.
Donors, United Nations agencies, and international and Yemeni non-governmental organisations reaffirmed their commitment to continue joint action in line with the collective and coherent stand adopted at the first Senior Officials Meeting in February 2020, further cemented at the second meeting in November 2020. Participants remain committed to upholding humanitarian principles and global accountability standards in the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance through a constructive and sustained engagement with the parties to the conflict.
Donors reaffirmed their full support for the humanitarian organisations that are operating under extreme and difficult conditions on the ground and stressed the need for unimpeded access for humanitarian actors. Important progress has been made, but the improvements are far from enough to address the growing needs. All restrictions, obstructions and interference violating humanitarian principles should be removed once and for all.
In addition, participants highlighted the importance of urgently mobilising additional resources, and their timely disbursement in support of the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan. Lifesaving programmes are being disrupted by funding shortfalls, and more are at risk if additional funds are not received soon.
Participants stressed the critical need to enhance humanitarian and development coordination. Recovery and development investments are required in parallel to emergency response efforts to avoid an imminent famine, while supporting longer-term and sustainable recovery.
Participants reiterated that a sustainable solution in Yemen requires an urgent, nationwide ceasefire and a comprehensive peace agreement reached through an inclusive political process.