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Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank Sweden, Switzerland and the UN for hosting this important event for the third time.
Norway remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
The needs are enormous, and the lack of humanitarian access to many areas is a huge obstacle for the humanitarian efforts.
All parties to the conflict must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law. This includes the obligation to ensure safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need.
Norway gives high priority to the humanitarian response in Yemen. Today, we are pledging 150 million NOK - approximately 17,4 million US dollars - for 2019. Further contributions will be considered throughout the year.
Our support channelled through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund comes in addition to this. CERF is an effective instrument for delivering protection and rapid life-saving assistance in Yemen and elsewhere. As of mid February, the fund has already provided almost 32 million US dollars for the Yemen crisis in 2019.
Humanitarian efforts are vital, but no level of humanitarian support can solve this crisis. Only a negotiated political solution can put an end to the conflict in Yemen.
Norway firmly supports the efforts of the UN Special Envoy. We welcome the Stockholm Agreement and the adoption of Security Council resolutions 2451 and 2452.
Concerted efforts by international, regional and national actors will be necessary to implement the agreement and achieve further political progress. In order to achieve durable solutions, it will be essential to include women and young people in the process.
With regard to the humanitarian response, it is vital to increase the purchasing power of destitute families, to fast-track food assistance in areas at high risk of famine and not least to enhance the protection of civilians. The gender perspective should be given priority in this respect, including protection from sexual and gender-based violence.
Let me end by expressing our gratitude to the humanitarian organisations and their staff who are working on the ground in Yemen, under very difficult circumstances. Many people are putting their lives on the line to protect civilians and provide life-saving assistance. They deserve our full support.