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Statement by Ambassador Shen Guofang, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Fifty-sixth Session of the General Assembly on the Issue of "Strengthening the Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance of the United Nations" (Item 20)

2001/11/26

Mr. President,

It has been almost ten years since the adoption by the General Assembly of Resolution 46/182 in 1991.  The Chinese Delegation appreciates the great efforts by relevant UN bodies all these years in strengthening the coordination of humanitarian assistance.  At the same time, as we have also noticed in the first year of this new century, the world is not as peaceful as we would like to see.  New armed conflicts occur here and there, the issue of refugees is getting worse and there are a lot more natural disasters than before, leading to enormous losses of lives and property.  Therefore, the international community still has a long and difficult road ahead to ensure that humanitarian assistance will be carried out in an orderly and smooth manner and achieve tangible results.

Mr. President,
The Chinese Delegation wants to share with other delegations its views regarding some of the issues mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General.  

First, in the process of providing humanitarian assistance, the United Nations and the international community should always strictly observe the guiding principles of the Charter of the United Nations, such as humanitarianism, neutrality and justice as well as respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity.  And relevant agencies of the United Nations and other regional organizations should do their jobs within the scope of their responsibility.  Without these principles, it would be very difficult for efforts of humanitarian assistance to achieve the expected results.  Worse, it could easily give rise to new humanitarian disasters.  

Second, as the Secretary-General has indicated in his report, experiences in the past ten years has shown to us that humanitarian assistance efforts cannot take the place of political action.  Without coordinated political and diplomatic efforts, it is impossible to find a proper solution to the crisis in many cases.  The Chinese Delegation wants to emphasize that when providing assistance, the international community should take it as a priority to eradicate the roots of humanitarian crises so as to avoid their reoccurrence.
 
Third, Resolution 46/182 has proved effective in the past ten years.  Today, when the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating, this resolution can still give important guidance to humanitarian efforts by the United Nation.  We hope that relevant agencies of the United Nations will strictly abide by this resolution in carrying out humanitarian assistance so as to achieve truly effective results.

Fourth, the OCHA has done a whole lot of work and achieved good results in the field of international humanitarian affairs over the past one year.  We would express our appreciation for this.  We hope that the OCHA will be able to get sufficient financial resources for its operations so that it can ensure that global humanitarian efforts will have more resources and respond to emergent situations more effectively.

Mr. President,
As a mechanism of responding to disasters and emergencies established by countries on a voluntary basis, the White Helmet Initiative is an important and useful complement to humanitarian assistance efforts.  The Chinese Delegation believes that this initiative is positive and helpful in strengthening the capacity of all countries, developing countries in particular, to fight against disasters.  Its potentials are yet to be fully tapped.  We hope that relevant agencies of the United Nations will carry out in-depth studies in this regard and make full use of the White Helmet Initiative in the international community's action against natural disasters.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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