At UN, Pakistan urges collective action to meet humanitarian needs of millions of displaced

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UNITED NATIONS, June 29 (APP): With 130 million people around the world requiring aid and an unprecedented 65 million displaced, Pakistan has called for for collectively working, together with the necessary political will, to alleviate the suffering of those caught up in humanitarian crises.

“There is no one-size fit all solution,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN Economic and Social Council three-day humanitarian affairs segment on Tuesday.

But the Pakistani envoy expressed the hope that the international community’s response to the world’s weak and vulnerable is based on compassion and a spirit of brotherhood.

The segment, held under the theme “Restoring Humanity and Leaving No One Behind: Working together to reduce people’s humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability”, takes place on the heels of the World Humanitarian Summit, held in Istanbul on May 23 and 24 , where governments, civil society, business and others had pledged to improve aid delivery.

Noting that the global humanitarian landscape had changed dramatically in recent years, with armed conflicts raging in so many regions and the frequency and ferocity of natural disasters ever-increasing, the Pakistani envoy said.

Despite the increase in financial assistance, she said, humanitarian financing was coming under increasingly severe strain; the funding gap had increased to $10 billion a year.

Pakistan had actively participated in all the Istanbul Summit’s major segments and activities, Ambassador Lodhi said.

In Istanbul, the commitments across the five areas of responsibility, identified by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, included several new initiatives in the areas of better response to natural disasters, reducing vulnerability and risk, building resilience of affected communities, and enhancing international support for countries in protracted refugee situations.

“We welcome the renewed emphasis on addressing the root causes of displacement and forced migration,” Ambassador Lodhi said.

“Unless we resolutely put out the fires of wars and conflicts which have caused so much suffering we will not be able to find a long-term solution to this crisis,” she said, while noting as “positive developments” the commitment to resolve and prevent armed conflicts, strengthen disaster risk reduction in developing countries and enhance the level of financial assistance to bridge the widening gap in humanitarian funding.

Looking ahead, the forthcoming summit on large-scale movements of refugees and migrants would be an opportunity to sustain that momentum and it would enable the international community to effectively address humanitarian challenges, the Pakistan envoy said.

Among other things, it would provide a platform to make an unequivocal pronouncement against all forms of xenophobia.

Ambassador Lodhi also urged the international community to prioritize the issue of Afghan refugees and help Pakistan and Afghanistan in their repatriation and resettlement in an honourable and sustainable manner.

In this regard, the Pakistani envoy also called on the global community to better appreciate Pakistan’s hospitality and its challenges in hosting the most protracted presence of refugees anywhere in the world.

She also underscored the need for addressing the most pressing humanitarian issue of recurring tragedies in the Mediterranean, saying the shockingly high number of ‘fatalities in transit’ had been the most chilling aspect of the current refugee crisis.