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Remarks by H.E. Mr Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia at the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of ECOSOC, 29 June 2016

29.06.2016

Thank you Mr. President,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement delivered by the Netherlands on behalf of the European Union and would like to make some additional remarks.

Firstly, while engaging with relevant stakeholders such as affected Governments, regional organizations, donors, development organizations, civil society and the private sector we must ensure that the core humanitarian values are respected.

Secondly, the humanitarian sector faces an unprecedented number of people affected and displaced by emergencies, including protracted displacement. Estonia has started resettlement activities in order to share the responsibility with countries and communities hosting large number of refugees and to alleviate the protection needs of the most vulnerable. We stay committed to the approach that preserves the dignity and self-reliance of the displaced and the resilience of the host communities. Linking immediate relief to mid- and long term support in programmatic and implementing level supports the transition from emergency type humanitarian assistance to the wider displacement situation.

In this context, let me emphasize that a large proportion of those in need of protection are children – they make up approximately half the total of the world’s 65,3 million displaced people and are more than half of all refugees. Children are particularly vulnerable in emergencies and face increased risks of violence, exploitation and abuse. Therefore, their unique differences and protection needs must be addressed in the humanitarian programs. Also, we need to ensure that the world’s 3.6 million refugee children out of school get access to quality education.

In this regard, we must ensure that the most vulnerable, including children, are at the center of the outcomes of the “high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants” to be held in September this year.

Thirdly, humanitarian and development actors must find ways to work better together. We can do so through joint humanitarian-development programming and exploring instruments that can unlock both humanitarian and development funding streams. One practical opportunity to bridge the evident divide between UN development and humanitarian operations could be having one impartial and fully trusted UN coordinator at the country level rather than a separate coordinator for development and humanitarian activities.  At the global level, we could also have one coordination system.   

Fourthly, Estonia welcomes and has joined the Grand Bargain on efficiency in humanitarian financing. It is of the utmost importance to focus now on the delivery of those commitments, mainly on greater transparency, effectiveness and enhancing engagement between humanitarian and development actors.

Finally, allow me to reaffirm that Estonia is a devoted supporter of principled international humanitarian action.  Estonia shares the grave concern about the ongoing violations of International Humanitarian Law, impunity, and diminishing humanitarian space and access. It is of utmost importance to emphasize that humanitarian activities should remain exclusively humanitarian in nature. We underscore the need for Member States, the United Nations and humanitarian organizations to condemn instances of such violations more consistently and systematically. Estonia strongly supports the call to action set out in the Secretary-General's Agenda for Humanity and stands accountable for its commitments taken at the World Humanitarian Summit in May in Istanbul.

Thank you!

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