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Statement by Ambassador Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations at the 68th GA under Item 70: Strengthening of the Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance of the United Nations, Including Special Economic Assistance

2013/12/12

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation thanks the Secretary General for his reports submitted under this item and wishes to take this opportunity to express its sympathy and support for the governments and peoples of countries that suffered from humanitarian crises over the past year. We wish to register our appreciation to the countries, international, regional and sub-regional organizations and all other parties that actively participated in and supported humanitarian relief activities and express our admiration for the hard work and dedication of humanitarian workers. We also appreciate the work carried out by OCHA and CERF.

The year of 2013 witnessed continued high demand for humanitarian relief assistance throughout the world as a result of natural disasters, armed conflicts and protracted crises. Factors like climate change, population growth, after effects of the financial crisis and fluctuating food prices have worsened the environment for the development of developing countries and focused the attention of the world community on the international humanitarian situation and the prominent problems of inadequate disaster relief capacity and lack of resources facing the developing countries. It remains urgent for the UN system and the international community to find ways to further strengthen the cooperation and coordination among all humanitarian actors, ensure the sustained growth of humanitarian relief resources, improve aid effectiveness, increase the resilience of affected countries, and realize the smooth transition from disaster relief to development. Against this backdrop, the international humanitarian system should further increase efficiency and enhance coordination so that humanitarian response can be faster, more effective and more targeted. It should strengthen its analytical work and capacity building with a view to mitigating or totally eliminating the negative effects of humanitarian crises. In this connection, I would like to emphasize the follow points:

First, international humanitarian assistance must continue to follow the basic principles established by GA resolution 46/182. It should respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of the recipient countries as required by the UN Charter, avoid the politicization of humanitarian issues and maintain the demilitarization of humanitarian assistance. Practice has shown that only when the above principles are observed and when an affected country plays the leading role in the humanitarian relief activities carried out within its territories can the resources and activities of the affected country, the UN system and other humanitarian actors be effectively coordinated and long-term mechanisms for and capacity building in disaster mitigation, preparedness and relief become component parts of the country's sustainable development efforts.

Secondly, capacity building for developing countries should be effectively enhanced by leveraging technological advances and partnership building. In recent years, technological innovation has promoted the innovation of the means of humanitarian relief and increased the speed and effectiveness of emergency responses, expanding space for the participation of more humanitarian actors and providing opportunities for improving the international humanitarian system. At the same time, many developing countries still face severe constraints in terms of finance, technology and development capacity. The international community should, on the basis of full respect for the national conditions and actual needs of the disaster stricken developing countries, increase financial and technical assistance to them, and share with them related expertise, technologies and products so as to really boost their disaster-risk management capacity, their all-round capacity in disaster prevention, preparedness, mitigation and resistance as well as their resilience.

Thirdly, the development efforts of developing countries should be strongly supported so as to resolve the root causes of humanitarian crises. Recent years have witnessed a large number of humanitarian crises caused by conflicts, and many internal and regional conflicts have grown out of acute economic, social and environmental problems caused by long term poverty and under-development. The international community should endeavor to tackle the root causes of humanitarian crises by fulfilling its commitments to the economic growth and sustainable development of the developing countries and help the affected countries realize the smooth transition from emergency relief to long term development.

Fourthly, the unique central role of the UN in leading and coordinating humanitarian assistance should continue to be reinforced. Under the leadership of USG Amos, OCHA has played an irreplaceable role in appealing for donations and organizing and coordinating relief assistance. China appreciates OCHA's work and hopes that the UN humanitarian system continue to enhance efficiency and transparency, increase participation of member states, build and improve cooperation partnerships with member states at the lead, and take measures to strengthen the guarantee for the safety and security of humanitarian workers. China welcomes the proposal of the Secretary General based on his Five Year Action Agenda to convene a world humanitarian summit in 2016 to exchange relevant expertise and best practices. We look forward to more details on the preparations for the summit.

Mr. President,

China is among the countries hardest hit by natural disasters. In our efforts in disaster prevention, mitigation and relief, we have taken in advanced international ideas and practices and explored our own ways and accumulated our own lessons-learned. As a result, we have gradually built a relief and assistance system led by the government with the participation of all sectors of the society. As the same time, China is committed to sharing its experience and successful practice with other members of the international community. Over the past three years, China has held 30 training courses and symposia on disaster prevention and relief for participants from other developing countries. For the first time in June this year, China co-hosted with OCHA a workshop on "disaster management and humanitarian relief in developing countries". Last month, the third plenum of the central committee of the 18th session of the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party adopted the decision on several significant issues on comprehensive and deeper reform. The decision laid out the strategy for my country's comprehensive and deep going reform and it included further improvement of our system for disaster prevention, mitigation and relief. China will continue to increase input to steadily build up and optimize its system for disaster prevention, mitigation and relief and will take a more active and open approach to further expand international cooperation in this area.

Mr. President,

International humanitarian assistance has always been an important component part of China's foreign assistance. In recent years, China has provided humanitarian assistance via bilateral and multilateral channels to countries in emergency or long term humanitarian crises in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Carribeans. For example, after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, China provided various humanitarian assistance to the Philippines including providing cash remittance, supplies, medical teams, rescue teams and hospital boat. Through no-strings-attached foreign assistance provided within the framework of South-South cooperation, China has been helping other developing countries to establish and improve mechanisms for disaster prevention, mitigation and relief, strengthen capacity building and build necessary infrastructures. China will remain closely attentive to the international humanitarian situation, continue to make donations to CERF and OCHA, and contribute within its capabilities to the international humanitarian cause.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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