During the humanitarian segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), numerous speakers underlined that the combined impact of climate change, volatile food prices and environmental degradation made the world more vulnerable and increased its humanitarian needs, stressing the need to strengthen resilience, preparedness and capacity for response.
21 July 2011: Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, opened the humanitarian segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) underlining that global challenges, such as climate change, the food and energy crises, migration and environmental degradation, “continue to increase people’s vulnerability and humanitarian needs.”
The humanitarian segment of the ECOSOC took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 19-21 July 2011. Noting that humanitarian emergencies around the globe are likely to increase, Amos called for strengthening partnerships, improving preparedness and ensuring predictable funding. She highlighted key elements of the UN Secretary-General’s 2011 report on strengthening the coordination of the UN’s emergency humanitarian assistance. She welcomed the discussion on two key areas for improving humanitarian assistance highlighted in the report, namely how to make the existing humanitarian financing system fit for the future, and how to strengthen resilience, preparedness and capacity for response. During the discussions, Honduras and Cuba welcomed the report of the UN Secretary-General, noting it reflected how the combined impact of climate change, volatile food prices and environmental degradation made the world more vulnerable and increased its humanitarian needs. Norway stressed the importance of reorienting disaster response systems to address climate change vulnerabilities. Slovakia underscored that natural disasters caused by climate change drove people from their homes and constituted some of today’s main humanitarian challenges.
On 21 July 2011, the Council held a panel discussion on strengthening resilience, preparedness and capacities for humanitarian response, with speakers indicating that the changing nature of the climate had resulted in the changing scale and nature of disasters in different parts of the world. They stressed the importance of investing in resilience and prevention to build dignity and save lives in the long term. [UN Press Release] [ECOSOC Press Release, 19 July 2011] [ECOSOC Press Release, 21 July 2011]