Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the Substantive Session of the ECOSOC on (15 July 2013) Geneva

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement of the Group of 77 and China.

We applaud the work being done by OCHA under the dynamic leadership of Undersecretary General Valerie Amos.

The Secretary General's report has been written skillfully and thoughtfully. Using appropriate and nuanced terminology, it puts rich content on the table requiring fresh thinking and forward looking decisions. It gives us a humanitarian road map for the future.

Pakistan and Switzerland jointly facilitated negotiations for this year's resolution. We thank member states for their active and constructive participation. The resolution covers new ground, especially key humanitarian principle of 'protection'.

We all know that the fury of natural disasters recognizes no geographical boundaries, no fine lines between developing and developed countries.

Complex humanitarian emergencies spawned by armed conflicts, civil wars, demographic changes, and chronic underdevelopment wreak havoc in large parts of the globe.

We support the United Nations' enhanced focus on capacity building, coordination, financing, information management, and needs assessment.

The United Nations is broadening its partnerships; and rightly so.

In this context, for instance, we welcome OCHA's support to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and its joint missions with the OIC to Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.

As we look into the future, it is clear that humanitarian caseloads will continue to grow. For effective responses, we will need a more inclusive, interoperable and effective international humanitarian system. This system will need to work more closely with national actors, communities, financial institutions, and the private sector. New smart technologies, including social media, will act as a force multiplier in finding innovative and cost effective solutions.

The success of the resilience approach will depend largely on sustainable development and an interface between humanitarian and development planning. Both should move in tandem.

We must continue to invest in preventive measures. When disasters strike, we cannot fully contain their ferocity. Wars and conflicts unfold before our eyes though we have all the diplomatic tools to prevent them.

We are not talking in abstraction. Even as we speak, some small island states in the Pacific are on the verge of extinction. Our diplomacy has failed to save lives in Syria. On the other hand, the United Nations' interventions in Mali, DRC, Somalia, and West Africa have averted even greater catastrophes.

In the last few years, Pakistan has faced mega natural disasters with courage, resilience and ingenuity. We are most grateful to the UN and the international community for their help. Learning from each experience, we were able to mitigate the impact of every succeeding crisis.

We have created a strong legal and institutional framework. A comprehensive law - covering full spectrum of disaster management - was passed in 2010. The National Disaster Management Authority reports directly to the Prime Minister and functions at the national, provincial and district levels. Regulations are being finalized to facilitate registration of international NGOs. A ten year National Disaster Management Plan has been unveiled.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has declared that his government will pursue a coherent strategy across all our provinces to deal with climate change. Natural disasters do not stop at provincial boundaries. Nor should response to them be disjointed. Past floods and earthquake affectees are being rehabilitated; and infrastructure is being restored on priority basis. Model villages will be built in disaster prone areas.

The new government treats disaster management as part of its development agenda. Disasters create huge disruptions in economic planning. Therefore, the government has decided to deal with recurring floods, among others, through effective water management as this will contribute to power generation and strengthen the economy.

I would also add the following:

    • Humanitarian assistance must conform to Resolution 46/182; and the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence should be respected, in all circumstances.
    • Accountability of all humanitarian actors especially in the area of delivery on ground should be ensured.
    • Work of humanitarian actors should conform to host country needs, priorities and agreements.
    • Humanitarian actors should tap into local resources to save funds and contribute to long-term development.

Finally, we welcome the Secretary Generalís call for the 2015 Humanitarian Summit. We have needed this Summit for a long time. The Summit would help us take stock of changing environment, identify emerging challenges, aggregate strengths of all stakeholders and evolve a more effective humanitarian response system.

I thank you.