ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment - 21-23 June 2023

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Mr President, Excellencies, Colleagues,

New Zealand welcomes the opportunity to participate in this year’s ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment. We thank Ambassador Maurizio Massari for his briefing, and thank Italy and Kenya for their facilitation of the HAS resolution.

New Zealand is deeply concerned by the recent steep rises in humanitarian needs across the globe. Ever-growing needs are placing additional strain on an already-stretched humanitarian system.

Last year the number of people forcibly displaced passed 100 million; just six months later, ten million more have been forced to leave their homes due to war, persecution, violence and human rights abuses.

This upward trajectory of conflict, violence and displacement is compounded by a backdrop of global austerity: economic fragility, inflation, the continued impacts of Covid-19, and the worsening consequences of climate change. New Zealand applauds the tireless and fearless work of the United Nations and its humanitarian partners in this extraordinarily challenging environment.

We appreciate that an effective response requires global solidarity and international cooperation, and are committed to playing our part. We continue to provide multi-year and flexible core funding to humanitarian partners, complemented by earmarked contributions to specific crises and longer term preparedness investments in our region – the Pacific.

New Zealand commends Italy for focusing the Humanitarian Action Segment this year on food insecurity, famine, protection, and climate change. The interlinkages between food insecurity, climate change, and conflict are undeniable. We are pleased that the HAS resolution acknowledges this, and sets the stage for action.

We highlight with particular concern the food insecurity crisis gripping the globe. In particular we call on all states to address the root causes of food insecurity, and to abide by international law and international humanitarian law. This includes allowing safe and rapid access for humanitarians, and protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Despite the importance of this resolution, New Zealand considers that it could go further on gender-responsive humanitarian action, anticipatory action, and climate change. All three are essential to effective humanitarian action, particularly in our neighbourhood, the Pacific.

Gender-responsive humanitarian action, particularly involving local actors and affected populations, is a core aspect of New Zealand’s humanitarian responses. We reiterate the importance of reliable and safe access to sexual and reproductive health services in ensuring the health and well-being of all people, especially women and girls. We are committed to defending these hard-won rights.

We see every day the direct threat that climate change poses to countries across the globe, particularly to the safety and livelihoods of Small Island Developing States and Pacific Island nations. Until the drivers of climate change are addressed, and greater investments are made to strengthen resilience, intensified natural disasters will lead to increased loss of life and destruction. Anticipatory action can help to save lives and make emergency responses more efficient, and we must integrate it more deeply into humanitarian action.

As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we are cognisant of how far the international community must still come to ensure – through immediate, collective action – that basic human rights are universally respected.

New Zealand is proud to play our part in the global humanitarian system, and to stand up for action that saves lives, all over the world.

Thank you.


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