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Statement of India in the Announcement Plenary of World Humanitarian Summit, 23-24 May 2016, Istanbul

World Humanitarian Summit
23-24 May 2016, Istanbul

Statement of India in the Announcement Plenary

Mr. Chairperson,

1.       My delegation wishes to place on record its appreciation to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for organizing the first World Humanitarian Summit, and to the Government of Turkey, for hosting this mega event and for extending excellent hospitality.

2.       The WHS assumes significance as over 60 million people are displaced from their place of residence, as refugees, IDPs and Stateless Persons - the largest movement of people since the Second World War. The Summit thus generates high expectations, in terms of what it could achieve, particularly in the light of a realization that the international humanitarian support system has fallen significantly short of the current humanitarian challenges. With an annual deficit in humanitarian assistance of US $ 15 billion, the need for more effective and streamlined UN humanitarian structures and finding additional sources of funding, is rather urgent.

3.       The UNSG's report titled "Agenda for Humanity", through the five "Core Responsibilities" of the international community, advocates a new humanitarian aid architecture. It seeks new financial arrangements to address the consequences of dangerous policies but does not refer to measures to prevent their emergence in the first place. Also attempts to address all forms of humanitarian challenges with a single unified approach would be ineffective and inefficient.

Mr. Chairperson,

4.       In order to ensure adequate, effective and timely protection and support to people in need, there is a necessity to maintain distinction between migrants, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), as they are governed by different international laws and norms. India has been generally supportive of the principles of burden sharing and solidarity in respect of refugees.  We believe that responsibility sharing should be based on agreed principles of CBDR and not equitable responsibility sharing. We are also concerned at voices seeking to divert resources away from development programmes, which will have a deleterious effect on developing countries, in particular the LDCs and SIDS.

5.       The need for a significant review of methods of work of various components of the UN system to address the grave humanitarian crisis -including through identification of complementarity and greater cooperation with other international humanitarian agencies is a noble sentiment, but could be confused in implementation.

6.       We welcome UNSG's recommendation on the need to increase direct and predictable financing to national and local actors, while making a provision for long-term support to develop such actors' capacity. We also welcome the UNSG's observation that additional humanitarian financing cannot come at the expense of development funding and that developed countries should fulfil their commitments to provide 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as ODA.

Mr. Chairperson,

7.       One cannot but take account of the root causes for the ongoing humanitarian emergencies - which are deeply embedded in the recent conflicts in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. Evidently, the inability of the UN Security Council in preventing the emergence of these grave conflict situations is rather obvious. This also points starkly to the need for urgent reform of the UN Security Council.

8.       As the WHS embarks on trying to define a new international humanitarian architecture, the salience of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations needs to be preserved. It is imperative for the sake of effectiveness of humanitarian action that in general, assistance be provided impartially, and with the consent of and at the request of the affected country.

9.       The UN should continue to play a central role in providing leadership and coordination to the efforts of the international community to support strengthening its response capacity in a cost effective and timely manner.

10.     We look forward to the World Humanitarian Summit proposing a mechanism for smooth transition from relief to rehabilitation and development. There is also a need for proposing the strengthening of the coordination between mechanisms dealing with emergency assistance, recovery and long term development so as to ensure effectiveness of humanitarian and development action.

11.     In conclusion, India renews our commitment to providing humanitarian assistance within our ability and national circumstances, to neighbouring and other friendly countries, based on their request and sensitivity of the gravity of the problem. India has amply demonstrated such commitment to support neighbouring countries, most recently, during the tragic Nepal Earthquakes in 2015.

I thank you Mr. Chairperson.