ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment 2022: Millions affected by conflict, hunger and climate change

From 21-23 June the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS) met to discuss how we can strengthen the coordination and effectiveness of the humanitarian assistance of the United Nations. These were some of Norway’s messages.

The theme this year was: “Strengthening humanitarian assistance: good practices and mobilizing action in the application of international humanitarian law, the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and in response to the climate crisis”.

You can read Norway’s statement in the General Debate here.

The backdrop for this HAS is that conflict, hunger and consequences of the climate and environment crises affect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world every day. Norway argued that we need to move from disaster response management to anticipatory action, bridging the gaps between climate adaptation, development efforts and humanitarian action. We have to find solutions to the drivers of armed conflict and ensure that parties to conflict fulfill their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.

Transition even food security: The link between climate change, conflict and hunger must be recognised and addressed. Impacts of climate change spur conflicts and have an immediate impact on food security. Strengthening food security cannot be done without tackling climate change and safeguarding biodiversity and sustainable ecosystems. Cooperation across the nexus between humanitarian, development and peace efforts is necessary.

Displacement: There is a momentum for strengthening international efforts to support IDPs and find sustainable solutions to internal displacement. The report of the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement (HLP) includes recommendations to all stakeholders that should be put into action.

Children and women: We need to fight the shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls. Norway will continue to advocate for stronger operational response, more global funding, and recognition of the key role of national and local organizations, including local women’s organizations - to prevent and protect people against the risk of sexual and gender based violence in humanitarian crises.

Education must be protected from attack. In addition to teaching, schools and universities provides a safe space, routine, and connect students to life-saving resources like nutrition and mental- and health services. We call on all states to endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration.

We need to move from re-action to anticipatory action: Anticipation saves lives, is more dignified and cost efficient. Innovative financing and the strengthening of weather and climate services priorities to Norway.

International Humanitarian Law: Humanitarian actors must be able, on a daily basis, to negotiate and maintain access locally. Such frontline negotiations are crucial to improve both access and safety for humanitarian workers. We will continue to be a champion of International Humanitarian law and we leave with a lot of input that we will take with us going forward.

Climate: We must explore new, innovative methods to avoid losses and reduce humanitarian needs. Better systemic risk understanding is an essential part of this. We need to move from disaster response management to systems-based and anticipatory thinking, bridging the gaps between climate adaptation, development efforts and humanitarian action.