I would like to begin by offering New Zealand’s sympathy to the families and colleagues of the UN humanitarian personnel who lost their lives, or were hurt, in the course of their duties this year.
We applaud the dedication of all UN staff who work in dangerous and difficult circumstances in support of those in need of humanitarian assistance.
Over the past year, progress overall has been made in addressing the challenges facing the humanitarian community.
However, the need for us all to work together to help those caught up in humanitarian situations remains as urgent as ever.
Indeed right now, more than 60 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The economic cost of disasters continues to increase, even though the actual numbers of disasters fell in 2012.
The impact of climate change and the increased frequency of natural disasters highlight the need for closer coordination and collaboration between those working in the humanitarian, development, political and security-related areas.
New Zealand recognises that, as a cost cutting strategy, disaster risk reduction provides the best value for money in reducing the impact of humanitarian crises, with one dollar invested in prevention estimated to save up to seven dollars in humanitarian response. That is a good investment.
We also recognize the importance of implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: in particular, strengthening the effectiveness of national and local preparedness, and building the resilience of nations and communities, in line with the Hyogo Framework.
Like others, New Zealand is committed to the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
We believe that as partnerships with new actors are formed we must be vigilant in adhering to these principles.
They are essential to ensure timely, secure and unimpeded access to the people who need humanitarian assistance the most in which respect,
New Zealand strongly holds to the view that inclusiveness should not only apply to humanitarian assistance and development actors but also to those affected by emergencies.
This General Assembly has just adopted resolutions acknowledging that we must give appropriate consideration to gender, age and disability as part of joint needs assessments and effective humanitarian response.
We believe, also, that we as Member States, as well as the UN system, must address gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies and we must ensure measures are in place in investigate such incidents and, where, appropriate prosecutions undertaken.
New Zealand joins with others in expressing support for the efforts of the Inter-Agency Advisory Committee, through the Transformative Agenda, to strengthen coordination, leadership and accountability.
We would also like to commend the Under Secretary General Valerie Amos, and her staff, for the impressive efforts to promote a more efficient, faster and better coordinated humanitarian response; and in her leadership of and improvements to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). She has taken up a great task, Mr President, and we support her in that.