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United Nations secretary-general calls for long-term aid assistance after crises

09 February 2018

ANTONIO FIORENTE/UN

Antonio Guterres addresses delegates at the African Nations summit, last month

Antonio Guterres addresses delegates at the African Nations summit, last month

THE secretary-general of the UN, António Guterres, has called on nations to work in a new way that moves from emergency aid to long-term assistance.

Speaking at the end of last month at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr Guterres said that the new approach was not about transferring funding from humanitarian projects to development. Instead, he said, “it is about recognising common goals and optimising existing resources and capabilities to help all people in situations of risk, vulnerability, and crisis. It is about working better together to reduce humanitarian needs over the medium-to-long-term.”

World leaders, he said, should act to bridge the divide between humanitarian aid and the development of countries, and he praised the work of the UN and African Union in partnership. “We must recommit to a focus on results and holding ourselves accountable by fully articulating collective outcomes.”

He also called for more action on climate change, as more humanitarian crises occurred around the world, such as flooding and drought. “We have a moral obligation to do better, and we have the tools and knowledge to deliver on that obligation. We must break down the silos that have existed for too long between humanitarian and development actors.”

He said that the new approach to humanitarian efforts and development was working in Africa in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Somalia, and in Yemen.

Mr Guterres also spoke of how the world expended more energy and resources on managing crises than on preventing them. The UN must, he said, in tandem with the African Union, attempt to create a “culture of prevention” rather than react to the crises. He pledged to work towards ending suffering and restoring “the human dignity of every person”.

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