Ministry Statements & Speeches:
New Zealand strongly supports the World Humanitarian Summit process and we are very pleased to have had the opportunity to co-host the Pacific consultations with Australia and OCHA last year.
A lack of long-term solutions to armed conflicts and regional instability in many parts of our world today has placed the humanitarian system under extraordinary pressure. Climate change and unpredictable weather patterns are exacerbating natural disasters and the devastating impacts they have.
We are witnessing the El Nino weather pattern causing severe droughts, floods and food shortages across many regions. The risk of both conflict and natural disasters escalating into the future is a very real one, making the Summit in May both timely and critical.
We welcome this briefing today and the steps outlined towards the Summit in Istanbul. The Summit must produce a concrete action plan to address the serious systemic issues facing the international humanitarian sector.
Small island developing states in the Pacific and elsewhere are acutely vulnerable to natural disasters and the impacts can be catastrophic, setting human and economic development in affected countries back by many years.
Pacific countries make up ten of the 30 countries most at risk of natural disasters. The very real impact of natural disasters in the Pacific was graphically demonstrated by Tropical Cyclone Pam in the lead up to the Pacific Consultation.
Almost one year on from TC Pam, several countries in the Pacific, including areas impacted by the cyclone, are now dealing with drought conditions and food insecurity due to the prevailing El Nino conditions.
It is not surprising then that disaster preparedness and response featured strongly in discussions at the WHS Pacific regional consultations. These issues, and the recommendations and actions, need to be taken through to Istanbul.
We need to:
- Ensure there are differentiated responses for natural disasters and protracted crises that are fit for purpose in the different regions and contexts;
- Support nationally led disaster response and place affected communities at the centre;
- Promote localisation of response capability;
- Shift the focus to building resilience and preparedness;
- Acknowledge and address the impacts of climate change; and Leverage innovation and the private sector to improve disaster response.
We look forward to working with our co-chairs and Pacific colleagues in the lead up to the Summit to ensure a strong Pacific voice and presence in Istanbul.