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STATEMENT: STRENGTHENING OF THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AND DISASTER RELIEF ASSISTANCE OF THE UNITED NATIONS [ITEM 73(A)], 11 DECEMBER 2020

STATEMENT BY 
MS. AZNIFAH ISNARIAH ABDUL GHANI
REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA

ON AGENDA ITEM 73 (a): “STRENGTHENING OF THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AND DISASTER RELIEF ASSISTANCE OF THE UNITED NATIONS”

NEW YORK, 11 DECEMBER 2020

 

Mr. President,

Malaysia aligns itself with the statement delivered by Guyana on behalf of the Group of 77 and China as well as with Brunei Darussalam on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

2.   Allow me at this outset to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report, which highlights new challenges posed by increasing global security environment on humanitarian and disaster relief assistance efforts particularly under difficult conditions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

3.   The recent onslaught of COVID-19 has not spared a single country. It is not only a health crisis, but also a humanitarian crisis. Malaysia commends efforts undertaken by the UN in ensuring that the international humanitarian assistance system remains operational and the crucial life-saving work of UN humanitarian response capacities continue, despite complexities faced given the challenges of working under the COVID-19 situation.

4.  We believe that timely, predictable, coordinated, and accountable response to humanitarian needs is essential in saving lives and alleviating suffering. This however has been compounded as the pandemic The scale and intensity of human suffering inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic has gravely impacted vulnerable communities. This is more so in countries that are facing poverty, conflict and the effects of natural disasters and climate change as well as unilateral sanctions. In conflict areas, we reiterate the call on all relevant parties to join the UNSG’s appeal for a global ceasefire during this critical time.

Mr. President,

5.  We would like to commend the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other UN relevant agencies for their commendable work in effectively delivering humanitarian relief around the world. Malaysia on its part, continues to work hand in hand with the UN system in ensuring the execution of high-quality services and facilities for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts. Malaysia continues to extend assistance to communities and countries in need, within our capacity. Our participation in the humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, are both in monetary and in-kind contribution. This year, Malaysia has pledged financial contribution to OCHA for the purpose of humanitarian relief in Iraq.

6.   In the region, Malaysia, together with the World Food Programme (WFP), continues to support COVID-19 operations and humanitarian relief efforts through the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) located in Subang. The Subang depot is one of the six UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD), which provides storage, logistics support, and services to our humanitarian partners. The Malaysian Government contributes USD 1 million annually in the form of a grant to cover the operating cost of the centre. This year, large scale humanitarian operations have taken place utilising the Subang depot as part of the UN’s efforts in combatting the pandemic. This is important to ensure that comprehensive emergency humanitarian missions continue unhindered within the region.

Mr. President,

7.  We are concerned with the security challenges faced by the UN and aid workers in providing humanitarian assistance particularly in areas where violations of international humanitarian law continue, humanitarian access is impeded and the protection of civilians remain a serious concern. In relation to Palestine, we note with great concern  the protracted protection crisis that continues, deep funding shortfalls and the restricted access to essential services as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report. Malaysia reiterates the call on all relevant parties to make every effort to safeguard the safety and security of humanitarian personnel, by ensuring full and effective implementation of the relevant principles and rules of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law as well as UNSC resolutions. Towards this end, to alleviate the severe financial shortfall faced by UNRWA, Malaysia has consistently contributed financially to the Agency.

Mr. President,

8.  Many have warned that next year we may be facing a humanitarian crisis that the world has never seen before. Humanity’s future is already in peril from the reversal and loss of gains from the progress made in fulfilling the SDG’s. We need to continue in the path of solidarity and international cooperation. We need to make sure that the predictions of a global humanitarian crisis would not come into fruition next year.

9.  In concluding, Malaysia would like to reiterate its call for continued coordination and collaboration between UN mechanisms and Member States in ensuring effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected and in ensuring that humanity is triumphant in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

I thank you.