Speech by Minister Kaag at 2020 High-level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

Statement by Minister Kaag at the 2020 High-level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, June 2.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin by thanking our hosts for organising this conference: Your Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and UN USG Mark Lowcock.

More than five years of conflict and economic collapse have resulted in an immense humanitarian crises. Violence, food insecurity and life-threatening diseases, including the harsh impact on the mental and psycho social wellbeing, are among the unimaginable hardships the Yemeni have to endure. In addition and at this very moment, the COVID-19 pandemic is engulfing Yemen. We must tackle this, starting with a collective effort to contain the virus now.

Secondly, continued full support for the efforts of the UN Special Envoy is crucial to reach an agreement on a nationwide ceasefire and the resumption of an inclusive political process. Such a ceasefire agreement would benefit the overall humanitarian situation, as well as help to counter COVID-19.

Thirdly, we stand united with the UN, international and national aid organisations and other donors in demanding that all parties to the conflict address the unacceptable restrictions on aid delivery. As well as ensure unimpeded access into and within Yemen for aid workers and humanitarian aid, including medical supplies.

We express support for those UN and other aid organisations that recently have seen no other option than to readjust and downscale their operations in Yemen. It was done in order to align the operations with the current operational environment and risks. Scaling back humanitarian assistance at a time when COVID-19 is causing devastation, goes against all our moral instincts and convictions. We are hopeful that soon we can see a reverse trend and aid operations can deliver in full. We welcome in this regard the steps in the right direction by the Houthi’s during previous months. And we want to see more: all restrictions must be removed to ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.

For 2020 the Netherlands is pledging 15.4 million euros for humanitarian assistance in Yemen. Part of this contribution has already been disbursed. The remainder will follow immediately once sufficient progress is made in accordance with humanitarian principles and unimpeded humanitarian access. And when aid organisations are actually able to implement their programs. We want our funds to be used to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, not to be pending somewhere in a bank account.

In addition to a specific contribution for the COVID-19 response that has already been disbursed, our funding is flexible so that it can be used by our partners immediately and as they see fit. We are encouraged to see that so many donors  commit to flexible funding modalities for the COVID-19 response. Let’s, as donors collectively, deliver on this commitment for the full humanitarian response.

The people of Yemen can count on our continuing support.

Thank you.