THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 NEW YORK, 25 SEPTEMBER 2018

Our world is suffering from a bad case of “Trust Deficit Disorder”.

People are feeling troubled and insecure.

Trust is at a breaking point. Trust in national institutions. Trust among states. Trust in the rules-based global order.

Within countries, people are losing faith in political establishments, polarization is on the rise and populism is on the march.

Among countries, cooperation is less certain and more difficult. Divisions in our Security Council are stark.

Trust in global governance is also fragile, as 21st-century challenges outpace 20th-century institutions and mindsets.

We have never had a true system of global governance, much less a fully democratic one.

Still, across many decades, we established solid foundations for international cooperation.

We came together as united nations to build institutions, norms and rules to advance our shared interests.

We raised standards of living for millions. We forged peace in troubled lands and – indeed – we avoided a third world war.

But none of this can be taken for granted.

Today, world order is increasingly chaotic. Power relations are less clear.

Universal values are being eroded.

Democratic principles are under siege, and the rule of law is being undermined.

Impunity is on the rise, as leaders and states push the boundaries, both at home and in the international arena.

We face a set of paradoxes.

The world is more connected, yet societies are becoming more fragmented.

Challenges are growing outward, while many people are turning inward.

Multilateralism is under fire precisely when we need it most.

So, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is true that we are moving in the direction of a multipolar world.

But multipolarity will not, in itself, guarantee peace or solve global problems.

A century ago, Europe was multipolar. A balance of power was deemed sufficient to keep rivals in check.

It was not. Without strong multilateral frameworks for European-wide cooperation and problem-solving, the result was a grievous world war.

Today, with shifts in the balance of power, the risk of confrontation may increase.

In assessing the Peloponnesian War in ancient Greece, Thucydides said, and I quote, “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

This is what the political scientist Graham Allison calls the “Thucydides Trap”.

But in his book “Destined for War”, and reviewing many examples of rivalry in the past, he concluded that conflict is never inevitable.

Indeed, with leadership committed to strategic cooperation and to managing competing interests, we can avoid war and steer the world onto a safer path.

Individual leaders have the duty to advance the well-being of their people.

But it runs deeper. Together, as guardians of the common good, we also have a duty to promote and support a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateralsystem.

We need commitment to a rules-based order, with the United Nations at its centre and with the different institutions and treaties that bring the Charter to life.

And we need to show the added value of international cooperation by delivering peace, defending human rights and driving economic and social progress for women and men everywhere.

That is why I am so committed to reform, and to making the United Nations more effective in responding to the needs and aspirations of “we the peoples”.

In the face of massive, existential threats to people and planet — but equally at a time of compelling opportunities for shared prosperity — there is no way forward but collective, common-sense action for the common good.

This is how we can rebuild trust.

Excellencies,

In my address last year, I highlighted seven challenges. One year on, they remain sadly unresolved.

There is outrage at our inability to end the wars in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

The Rohingya people remain exiled, traumatized and in misery, still yearning for safety and justice.

Palestinians and Israelis are still locked in endless conflict, with the two-state solution more and more distant.

The threat of terror looms, fed by the root causes of radicalization and violent extremism. And terrorism is ever more interlinked with international organizedcrime and the trafficking of people, drugs, arms and corruption.

The nuclear peril has not eased, with non-proliferation at serious risk. Nuclear-armed States are modernizing their arsenals. A new arms race could be triggered, and the threshold for their use lowered.

We have seen outrageous uses of chemical weapons, in full impunity despite their ban, and protections against dangerous biological weapons are weak.

Inequality is undermining faith in the social contract and is a clear obstacle to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Tensions over trade are on the rise.

Migrants and refugees continue to face discrimination and demagoguery in the context of clearly insufficient international cooperation.

And in this year marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the human rights agenda is losing ground and authoritarianism is on the rise.

As the politics of pessimism spreads, we must guard against self-fulfilling prophecies.

Those who see their neighbours as dangerous may cause a threat where there was none.

Those who close their borders to regular migration only fuel the work of traffickers.

And those who ignore human rights in combatting terrorism tend to breed the very extremism they are trying to end.

It is our common duty to reverse these trends and resolve these challenges.

We need to move ahead based on facts, not fear — on reason, not illusion.

Prevention must be at the centre of all we do.

This session of the General Assembly is a real opportunity for progress.

To mention just one example, I welcome the strong show of support for my Action for Peacekeeping Initiative – which has been endorsed by 148 states and organizations. It aims to help our missions succeed in today’s protracted and volatile contexts.

But today I want to concentrate on two epochal challenges which, since last year, have taken on surpassing urgency: climate change and the new risks associated with advances in technology.

Let me take them each in turn.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First, the direct existential threat of climate change.

We have reached a pivotal moment.

If we do not change course in the next two years, we risk runaway climate change.

Climate change is moving faster than we are – and its speed has provoked a sonic boom SOS across our world.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the past two decades included 18 of the warmest years since record-keeping began in 1850.

This year, for the first time, thick permanent sea ice north of Greenland began to break up.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the highest in 3 million years – and rising.

Making matters worse, we — as a community of world leaders — are not doing enough. We must listen to the earth’s best scientists. We must see what is happening before our eyes.

We need greater ambition and a greater sense of urgency.

We must guarantee the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

It has immense potential to set us on the right course, but its targets — which represent the bare minimum to avoid the worst impacts of climate change — are far from being met.

I am concerned that recent negotiations in Bangkok towards implementation guidelines ended without sufficient progress.

The next Conference of Parties, COP24 in Poland in December, will be a key moment. It must be a success. As I said recently, we cannot allow Katowice to remind us of the divisions among Member States that paralyzed Copenhagen.

The good news is: technology is on our side.

Clean energy is more affordable and competitive than ever.

If we pursue the right path, climate action could add $26 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Green economy policies could create 24 million new jobs.

More and more companies and investors are finding that green business is good business.

Far from being a fundamental threat to the economy, climate action is generating new industries, new markets, more jobs and less dependency on fossil fuels.

The real danger is not the threat to one’s economy that comes from acting. It is, instead, the risk to one’s economy by failing to act.

Governments need to be courageous and smart.

That means ending trillions of dollars in subsidies for fossil fuels.

It means establishing an adequate price for carbon.

It means stopping investments in unsustainable infrastructure that lock in bad practices for decades to come.

Our future is at stake. Nothing is immune — climate change affects everything – and everything can be undermined. Keeping our planet’s warming to well below 2 degrees is essential for global prosperity and the security of nations.

That is why, next September, I will convene a Climate Summit to mobilize action and finance. We will bring together countries and cities, the real economy and real politics, business, finance and civil society, to focus on the heart of the problem.

The Summit will take place one year before countries have to enhance their national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement.

Only a significantly higher level of ambition will do – and the Summit will be an opportunity for leaders and partners to showcase their ambition.

For this to be possible, we must act today.

The world needs you to be climate champions.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me now turn to new technologies and what we can do to uphold their promise but to keep their perils at bay.

And there is great promise. Scientific progress has helped to cure deadly diseases, to feed growing populations, to drive economic growth and to connect businesses, communities, families and friends across the world.

Rapidly developing fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and biotechnology have the potential to turbocharge progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Artificial Intelligence is connecting people across languages, and supporting doctors in making better diagnoses. Driverless vehicles will revolutionize transportation.

But there are also risks and serious dangers.

Technological advances may disrupt labour markets as traditional jobs change or disappear, even as the number of young job-seekers continues to grow. Re-training will be needed at previously unimaginable scales. Education must adapt, from the earliest grades. And the very nature of work will change. Governments may have to consider stronger social safety nets and eventually universal basic income.

At the same time, technology is being misused by terrorists and for sexual exploitation and abuse.

Organized criminal networks lurk on the dark web, profiting from encryption and near-anonymous cryptocurrency payments to traffic in people and illegal goods.

Some reports estimate that cybercrime is now putting US$1.5 trillion in the pockets of cybercriminals annually.

Malicious acts in cyberspace – such as disinformation campaigns — are polarizing communities and diminishing trust among States.

And more and more people are getting their information from news or social media feeds that echo their views, reinforce tribalism and assure people that they are right and the other side is wrong.

The digital revolution is also being used to discriminate against women and reinforce our male-dominated culture.

Indeed, there is a deep gender gap in access to digital technologies, widening the digital divide.

We must dismantle obstacles and create opportunities for women, ensure equality and change on-line and toxic corporate cultures. The technology sector must open up and become more diverse – not least for its own benefit.

With technology outracing institutions, cooperation between countries and among stakeholders will be crucial, including Member States, the private sector, research centres, civil society and academia.

There are many mutually beneficial solutions for digital challenges. We need urgently to find the way to apply them.

At the United Nations, we are harnessing technologies in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. We are creating innovation labs, including in my office. And in July,
I established a High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, that met yesterday, and that is a dialogue platform for all key actors.

Excellencies,

The impacts of new technologies on warfare are a direct threat to our common responsibility to guarantee peace and security.

The weaponization of artificial intelligence is a growing concern.

The prospect of weapons that can select and attack a target on their own raises multiple alarms – and could trigger new arms races.

Diminished oversight of weapons has implications for our efforts to contain threats, to prevent escalation and to adhere to international humanitarian and human rights law.

Let’s call it as it is. The prospect of machines with the discretion and power to take human life is morally repugnant.

Heaven forbid, any new war could very well include a massive cyberattack not only targeting military capacities, but also critical civilian infrastructure.

I am encouraged by the ten possible guiding principles elaborated in Geneva last month by the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems.

More work on these issues, aimed at building trust between and within nations, will be needed if we are to ensure the responsible use of new technologies.

I urge you to use the United Nations as a platform to draw global attention to these crucial matters and to nurture a digital future that is safe and beneficial for all.

Excellencies,

Despite the chaos and confusion in our world, I see winds of hope blowing around the globe.

Just days ago, I witnessed the signing of a historic peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea in Saudi Arabia.

Soon after, the presidents of Djibouti and Eritrea met in Jeddah to launch a peace process.

Eritrea and Somalia have established diplomatic relations.

And in the same region, in the context of a summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development – IGAD – the two rival leaders in South Sudan have finally signed a peace agreement.

I am hopeful that these efforts will continue to be consolidated so that the people of the Horn of Africa can finally turn the page on war and conflict.

The courageous initiative of the Singapore Summit between the leaders of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, along with the recent meeting of the two Korean leaders in Pyongyang, offers hope for the possibility of a full and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a context of regional security.

In my recent visit to Colombia, I was impressed by the peoples’ strong commitment to peace, now reaffirmed by President Duque.

In Central Asia, I personally witnessed strengthened cooperation among states after Uzbekistan went through a peaceful political transition.

Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have taken a major step towards resolving their differences.

Our peacekeeping mission in Liberia ended a decade-and-a-half of work this year following the country’s first peaceful democratic transition, adding to peacekeeping successes elsewhere in West Africa.

The approval of a compact on refugees and another on migration represents signs of hope, even if there is still a long way to go to reconcile full respect for the rights of people on the move with the legitimate interests of states.

Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of extreme poverty across the world over the past three decades, and we averted looming famine in the four countries impacted in the past two years.

Armenia’s young people were at the heart of that country’s peaceful political transition earlier this year – showing the potential of youth to use their voice to advance democracy.

And the drive for gender equality is gaining ground, amid a growing awareness of pervasive discrimination against women and girls, from violence, harassment and exploitation to unequal pay and exclusion from decision-making.

The United Nations must lead the way in pursuit of gender equality. For the first time in United Nations history, there is full parity in our Senior Management Group and among Resident Coordinators leading country teams around the world. We are firmly committed to equality and empowerment everywhere.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

As our Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, once reminded us:

“We share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations”.

Our future rests on solidarity.

We must repair broken trust.

We must reinvigorate our multilateral project.

And we must uphold dignity for one and for all.

Thank you very much.

Yemen: Tackling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

24 September 2018 – Humanitarian Aid

With three-quarters of the population requiring some form of basic assistance to survive, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, now in its fourth year, has reached unprecedented levels of need. On Monday, ahead of the United Nation’s 73rd General Assembly high-level debate, a special event will focus on the humanitarian response across the country, its major achievements and its daily challenges, in an attempt to galvanize more international support.

The figures of the crisis are staggering and near-impossible to grasp: 22.2 million in need of assistance, 8.4 million people severely food insecure, and a further 10 million that could fall under the same category by the end of the year, if action is not urgently taken.“It is bleak”, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council on Friday. “We are losing the fight against famine”.

In addition, more than 1.1 million cases of acute watery diarrhoea or cholera have been reported since April 2017.

Conflict in Yemen – already one of the poorest countries in the world before the crisis – escalated in March 2015, when an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened militarily at the request of the Yemeni President. Airstrikes have become a daily occurrence for millions of civilians.

Since 1 June alone, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA), half a million people have been forced to flee their homes in Hudaydah, an opposition-held governorate in western Yemen, bringing the total of internally displaced persons in the country to 2 million.

Hundreds of thousands of families no longer have a regular source of income – including teachers, health workers, water and sanitation workers and other public servants. They have not been paid a regular salary in two years.

Currently, over 150 relief organisations, including eight UN agencies, are working around the clock to provide food, shelter, nutritional assistance, protection services and much more to millions of Yemenis whose lives have been uprooted by the conflict.

Of the nearly US$ 3 billion required for this year’s response plan, $2 billion (65 per cent) have been mobilized, making it the world’s best funded humanitarian appeal. The humanitarian response reaches more than 7 million people every month across Yemen and the number of people reached has increased consistently across sectors during the year.

However, the needs continue to outpace the response capacity and humanitarian workers face critical challenges every day. According to OCHA, the organizer of the General Assembly high level event, these include impediments to humanitarian action such as movement restrictions, attempted interference and harassment, as well as fluctuating commercial import levels and collapsing basic health, education, water and sanitation services.

The event will take place from 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm at UN Headquarters and will be broadcast live on webtv.un.org. It will include opening remarks by the UN head of humanitarian affairs, Mr. Lowcock, and a briefing by Yemen’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the UN, Lise Grande.

Take five: “Yemeni women and girls are the ones who are paying the price of war”

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Areej Jamal Al-Khawlani Photo: UN Women/Yasmin Labidi

Areej Jamal Al-Khawlani Photo: UN Women/Yasmin Labidi

Areej Jamal Al- Khawlani has worked with UN Women as a Programme Associate in Yemen since 2017. Prior to joining UN Women, she was part of the Yemen Parliamentarians Against Corruption and worked for the Mwatana Organization for Human Rights. As the conflict in Yemen nears its fourth year, the conditions are worsening for women and girls: 76 per cent of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are women and children, and an estimated 3 millionwomen and girls are at risk of gender-based violence, according to UNFPA. In this interview, Ms. Al-Khawlani shares the current needs and priorities of Yemeni women and girls.

How has the conflict in Yemen affected daily life for people in the country?

Daily life in Yemen has become very difficult whether it is at home, university or work. More than 22 million people need urgent assistance, people are exhausted and starving

The challenges, both personal and professional, of working under these conditions cannot be underestimated. For instance, the deteriorating security situation in Sana’a means that people cannot even access their work place. But working from home is challenging with the regular power cuts. Can you imagine while you’re working, you’re hearing the sound of explosions and airstrikes near your home?

Are there specific challenges that international organizations are facing in this context?

The dynamics of the conflict have placed many restrictions on the work of international and local organizations. This requires us to think creatively about how we can achieve our objectives to support women and men, girls and boys of Yemen, particularly those most affected by the war.

For instance, while supporting women’s participation in politics, peace negotiations and decision-making bodies is a critical priority, all parties to the conflict tend to think that while the conflict is ongoing is not the time to address women’s right and empowerment issues. There are also heightened sensitivities about gender-based violence issues. Therefore, working on these issues means that non-governmental organizations and international organizations must be careful about how these issues are phrased and addressed through their projects.

Are women and girls impacted differently by the war? What are the unique challenges that they are facing?

Yemeni women and girls are the ones who are paying the price of war. Some 76 per cent of internally displaced persons are women and children, and nearly 21 per cent of households of internally displaced persons as well as host communities are headed by women below the age of 18.

Yemeni women are now having to step into roles that were traditionally filled by men because so many men have been killed or injured, forcibly disappeared or have lost their jobs. But now they have the double burden of being the family’s main provider while also performing their expected role of primary caregivers in the family.

The most urgent issues for women include the lack of medical care and the consequences of economic devastation. Women and children also account for the largest number of civilian victims. Reported gender-based violence incidents increased by 36 per cent in 2017, and child marriage rates have escalated to 66 per cent, as of 2017.

The dreams of many Yemeni women and girls have not come true, just because they are women and girls living in Yemen.

How is UN Women supporting women in Yemen?

One of the main areas of UN Women’s work in Yemen is to expand women’s political participation, which is challenging during crisis. While we firmly believe in supporting women’s participation in public life and decision-making at all times, others argue that a crisis situation is not the time to enhance women’s political participation, and that women can play a role once a ceasefire has been declared.

However, we know the importance of equal representation of men and women in peace negotiations and conflict resolution, and we know that ceasefire agreements can and should contain gender-sensitive provisions. When women are part of these negotiations, the agreements address issues such as sexual violence and include women in follow-up mechanisms.

UN Women supported the establishment of the Yemeni Women’s Pact for Peace and Security, a voluntary platform of Yemeni women from diverse backgrounds, in 2015 and has worked with its members since then. The Yemeni Women Pact calls for women’s engagement in all political dialogues. We support the Pact by facilitating meetings with representatives of parties to the conflict and the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen. We also try to facilitate informal alliances between women within political groups and members of the Pact so that they can find common grounds and solutions that work for women.

What are the top priorities for women in Yemen at the moment?

Currently UN Women is prioritizing supporting the voices of Yemeni women in political dialogues and peacebuilding processes, to ensure that the UN’s response to the crisis addresses the needs of Yemeni women and girls. For instance, one of the priorities identified by women is to deliver immediate protection and livelihoods services to displaced and marginalized Yemenis. Moreover, UN Women Yemen is working on gender mainstreaming the UN response and addressing information gaps about Yemeni women’s needs and vulnerabilities.

إحاطة المبعوث الخاص للأمين العام للأمم المتحدة الى اليمن أمام مجلس الأمن

عمان، 11 سبتمبر/ أيلول 2018

سيدتي الرئيسة،

أشكرك جزيل الشكر سيدتي الرئيسة، وأسمحي لي أولاً أن أعرب عن تعاطفي معكِ سيدتي الرئيسة، ومع حكومتكِ وشعبكِ في ذكرى هذا اليوم المأساوي.

سيدتي الرئيسة، عندما دعوت إلى المشاورات اليمنية في جنيف، لم أتوقّع أبداً أن تكون المهمةً سهلة، إذ لم يلتق الطرفان منذ أكثر من عامين وتشهد الحرب تصعيداً على جميع الجبهات تقريباً، وبلغت الثقة أدنى مستوياتها، والكلفة البشرية والإنسانية ترتفع باستمرار وقد علق الأطراف في دوامة من العنف. في المُقابل، فإن الشعب اليمني، وهو الضحية الرئيسية لهذه الحرب، يتوق بطبيعة الحال إلى حلٍ سياسي سلمي يضع حداً لبؤسه، ويوقف الحرب، ويأتي بحكومة قادرة على تلبية احتياجاته الأساسية. وأدركت أيضًا، أنّ هذا لم يعد سباقًا بين الحلول والمؤسسات السياسية والعسكرية، بل هو سباق لإنقاذ ما تبقى من مؤسسات الدولة بأسرع ما يمكن. وانطلاقا من هذا الشعور المُلِحّ، تشجعت كما تعلمون سيدتي الرئيسة على المضي قدماً مع الأطراف من أجل ضخّ بعض الأمل ووضع نهج بديل لنهج الحرب.

بعد عدة أشهر، بعد سبعة أشهر من المناقشات المكثّفة، واستناداً إلى قناعتي القوية التي أيّدها هذا المجلس بالتوصّل إلى حلّ سياسي، قرّرت الدعوة إلى إجراء مشاورات رسمية من شأنها أن تؤدي إلى استئناف العملية السياسية، وفي الواقع كان لي الشرف ان اكون معكم في الثاني من آب/أغسطس للإعلان عن هذه المشاورات. ويسعدني في الواقع أن أبلغ هذا المجلس أنه على الرغم من غياب أحد طرفي  المشاورات في جنيف في الأسبوع الماضي، و إن لم تجرِ الأمور كما كان مخططاً لها، غير أننا تمكّنا من إعادة إطلاق العملية السياسية بدعم قوي واضح من الشعب اليمني والمجتمع الدولي.

 لقد شعرت بالطبع بخيبة أملٍ مثل أي شخص، لأننا لم نتمكن من إحضار الوفد من صنعاء إلى جنيف. هذا بالتأكيد ليس ما كنت قد خططت له في الأسبوع الماضي، وأنا بالتأكيد لا أرغب في رؤية حدوث ذلك مرة أخرى، ولا يرغب أحد منا بذلك. ولكنني سأستمر، وبالإذن منكِ سيدتي الرئيسة، في عدم الخوض في التفاصيل المتعلقة بالعديد من القضايا التي تعيّن علينا أن نتغلب عليها معاً وإن لم ننجح في النتيجة في إحضار الوفد إلى جنيف. وأودّ أن أؤكّد هنا أنّ الجميع بذلوا الجهود، جميعنا في جنيف، في عمان، في التحالف وبالتأكيد في حكومة اليمن لمحاولة التغلّب على القضايا التي واجهتنا، لكن الجهود لم تنجح، لم ينجح الأمر. أعدكم أن هذا الامر لن يتكرّر.

سيدتي الرئيسة، سوف تشهد العملية السياسية اليمنية مثل الكثير من العمليات من هذا النوع، تقلّبات عديدة صعوداً وهبوطاً، والتحديات التي واجهناها الأسبوع الماضي تبقى عقبات مؤقتة يجب التغلّب عليها وأعتقد أن هذه هي رسالتي الرئيسية. في رأيي، انها ليست دلالة على أن الوضع السياسي والعسكري، وهو وضع مريع، وربما لأنه مريع، لن يُفضي إلى إجراء مشاورات رسمية. نحن بحاجة إلى الاستمرار في التركيز على  تعزيز العملية السياسية لا سيما في هذه المراحل المبكرة الهشة، وخلق الزخم اللازم بحيث يمكن تحقيق بعض الخير الملموس لليمنيين في جميع أنحاء اليمن. وهذه العملية لا تقتصر ببساطة على الانتقال من حدث كبير وسريع إلى الحدث الذي يليه، بل هي بحاجة إلى التصميم والالتزام والإرادة السياسية من قبل جميع الأطراف بما في ذلك بالطبع أعضاء هذا المجلس، بالإضافة إلى الحاجة الى وضع مصالح الشعب اليمني فوق كل اعتبار آخر. أرى أنّ دوري هو العمل مع الأطراف لفهم مخاوفهم وآمالهم وتطلّعاتهم، حتى أتمكن من تقديم المساعدة والدعم اللازمين لدفع العملية إلى الأمام. وبالتالي، فإنّ دوري، ربما، بشكل مثير للجدل نوعاً ما، هو أن أشجّعهم لا ان أفشي امورهم، أن أعمل معهم لا أن أُضعفهم، مع تذكيرهم بضرورة احترام التزاماتهم ومسؤولياتهم تجاه الشعب اليمني والمجتمع الدولي.

سيدتي الرئيسة،

بينما تستأنف الأطراف هذه الجهود الرسمية من أجل التوصّل إلى تسوية وبناء الثقة، من المهم ألا نسمح لأنفسنا بأن ننزلق مرة أخرى في مواجهات عسكرية واسعة النطاق. كما قلت، يتصاعد القتال من جميع الجهات، لكننا لم نشهد حتى الآن عمليات على مشارف مدينة الحديدة ولم نشهد بعد هجومًا على المدينة والميناء، وآمل ألاّ يحصل ذلك.

كما ذكر هذا المجلس مرارًا وتكرارًا، نشعر بالقلق إزاء إطلاق الهجمات من قوات أنصار الله باتجاه المملكة العربية السعودية، وتدل الهجمات على البحر الأحمر على انّ هذا النزاع يشكّل تهديداً مستمراً للأمن الإقليمي.

وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، سيدتي الرئيسة، إن استمرار هبوط قيمة الريال اليمني والتراجع الاقتصادي الحاد يضع الناس في ظروف أكثر صعوبة ويدفعهم نحو الفقر. إن الإحباط آخذ في الارتفاع وهذا يجلب معه تهديداً بنشوب نزاع لاسيما في الجنوب، فخلال الأيام العشرة الماضية، كانت هناك مظاهرات واسعة الانتشار في محافظات جنوبية، حيث أعرب المتظاهرون عن قلقهم إزاء الوضع الاقتصادي وغياب الخدمات الأساسية. هذا يذكّرنا بأهمية الاستماع إلى الأصوات الجنوبية وضمان مشاركتها الفعّالة في التدابير لوضع حد لهذا النزاع. لقد التقيت العديد من المجموعات الجنوبية في الأشهر الأخيرة وسأجتمع بها مرة أخرى، وقد أيدت بقوة حلّ مخاوفها من خلال الحوار ويسرّني أن أقول أنها حريصة على المشاركة في عملية السلام.

سيدتي الرئيسة، سأواصل مباحثاتي في الأيام القادمة من خلال مجموعة من الزيارات حيث سأزور غداً مسقط ومن بعدها صنعاء، للقاء القيادات السياسية في هاتين المدينتين. ولهذه الزيارة هدفان: أولاً، تحقيق تقدّم ملموس بناءً على المناقشات التي جرت في جنيف، حول تدابير بناء الثقة والتي تشمل تبادل السجناء وفتح مطار صنعاء وإن ما يشجعني كثيراً هو النهج الإيجابي والبنّاء الذي لمسته من الحكومة اليمنية ومن التحالف ودعمهم لهذه القضايا، وأنا حريص أن أضع التزاماً علنياً حول احراز تقدم في هذه القضايا في الأيام القادمة؛ هدفي الثاني، بالطبع، ومن غير المستغرب هو ضمان التزام قوي من الأطراف بعقد مشاورات إيجابية ومستمرة.

آمل أن ألتقي بالحكومة اليمنية في الرياض وأتطلع إلى لقاء الرئيس هادي ويجب أن أقول هنا أنني ممتن للغاية للرئيس هادي على دعمه الشخصي ودعم حكومته لكل الجهود التي تبذلها الأمم المتحدة لتوفير حلّ سياسي لهذا النزاع. وأنا ممتن له ولحكومته على حضور وفده الى جنيف وعلى المشاركة البنّاءة التي حظينا بها خلال تلك الظروف غير العادية في جنيف.

وانوي التشاور قريباً، كما قلت، مع عدد من الاطراف الجنوبية للاتفاق على مشاركتها الفعّالة في العملية. أودّ أن أضيف انّ مجموعة من النساء اليمنيات حضرن الى جنيف وتميّزن بخبرة ومعرفة قوية في عدد من القضايا وبما انه كان لدينا متسع من الوقت، أصبح لدينا مسار إيجابي للغاية للسير قدماً يتعلق بكيفية تقديم المجموعتين المشورة لي والاسهام بشكل كبير في هذه العملية بينما نمضي قدمًا.

الشمولية هي أمر أساسي لنجاح هذه العملية، في حين أن الطرفين هما الطرفان الرئيسيان، فإنه ينبغي علي مواصلة إجراء مشاورات أوسع مع الأشخاص الذين أعتقد أنّ بإمكانهم تقديم المشورة لي للقيام بمهمتي بشكل أفضل.

في الختام، سيدتي الرئيسة، ان السبب الذي يجعلني أشعر بالامتنان الشديد لك هو الدعوة الى هذه الجلسة اليوم بعد فترة وجيزة من جنيف، وقبل أن أتمكن من وضع الخطوط العريضة لمسار إيجابي للعودة إلى السلام، وأود أن أقول التالي، الطريق إلى السلام ليس مستقيماً أبداً. سنواجه الصعوبات على الدوام خاصة في وقت تستأنف فيه العملية بعد عامين من العداء والمعارضة والشك والارتباك وانعدام الثقة. ليس من المستغرب أن يكون هناك من يجد صعوبة في الحضور في هذه الحالة، وليس من المستغرب أن يكون هناك من يجد بعض العناصر المهمة لمصلحته في عدم حضوره. لن تكون هذه هي المرة الأخيرة التي سنواجه فيها صعوبات، ولكنني متأكد من أنها ستكون المرة الأخيرة التي نواجه فيها هذه الصعوبة على وجه الخصوص، لكن هذا لا يعني ولو للحظة، وهذا هو سبب سعادتي لوجودي هنا سيدتي الرئيسة، أن عملية السلام أصبحت أكثر صعوبة، بل قد تكون أصبحت أكثر إلحاحا وأعتقد أننا تعلمنا الكثير في جنيف، وأود لو سمحتم لي، أن أطلب استمرار دعم المجلس لجهود المجتمع الدولي ولجهود مكتبي المبذولة من أجل العودة إلى طاولة المفاوضات بأقصى سرعة.

شكرا جزيلا

STATEMENT OF THE SPECIAL ENVOY FOR YEMEN TO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL

Amman, 11 September 2018 

Madam President,

Thank you very much, Madam President and Let me first express my sympathies to you Madam President, your government and your people on this tragic day that we have all mourned for so long.

Madam President,

When I called for the Intra-Yemeni Consultations in Geneva, I never expected it to be an easy mission. The parties have not met for more than two years. The war has been escalating virtually on all fronts. The level of confidence is at its lowest and the human and humanitarian cost is ever rising. The parties have been locked into a cycle of violence. In contrast, the main victims of this war, the Yemeni people, naturally have been yearning for a peaceful political solution that can end their misery, put an end to the war and deliver a government that is in a position to address their basic needs. I have also learned that this is no longer a race between political and military institutions and solutions. It is, instead, a race to salvage what is left of state institutions as quickly as possible. It is with this sense of urgency indeed, that I was encouraged as you know Madam President to move forward with the parties so as to inject a prospect of hope and to develop an alternative narrative to the narrative of war.

Following many months, seven months of intensive discussions, and based on my strong conviction supported by this council for a political solution, I decided to call for formal consultations that would lead to a resumption of the political process, and indeed I had the honor being with you on August the 2nd to announce this call. I am glad in fact to report to this Council that despite the absence of one of the sides to the Consultations in Geneva, last week, and even if it certainly did not go as planned, we still managed to relaunch the political process with solid support clearly from the Yemeni people and the international community.

Of course I was as disappointed as anyone that we were unable to bring the delegation from Sana’a to Geneva. This is certainly not what I had planned for last week, and I certainly would not want to see this happen again, nor would any of us. But I will continue, with your permission Madam President, not to be drawn, into going into the details of the many issues that we had to overcome together, even if we ultimately failed to bring the delegation to Geneva and I should just stress here, that efforts were made by everybody, all of us in Geneva, in Amman, in the Coalition and certainly in the Government of Yemen to try and overcome the issues that were presented to us,  just did not work, it just did not work on this occasion, and I will promise to make absolutely sure that this does not happen again.

Madam President,

The Yemeni political process, like so many other of its kind, will see ups and downs. The challenges we faced last week, and I think this is my main message, remain temporary hurdles to be overcome. It is not a sign, in my view, that the political and military situation as dire as it is and perhaps because it is dire, is not conducive to formal consultations. We need to stay focused on nurturing the political process particularly in these fragile early stages, and build the needed momentum so that it can deliver some tangible benefits to Yemenis throughout Yemen. Such a process is not simply about holding and moving from one big and indeed short event to the next. Instead, it needs political will, determination and commitment from all the actors including of course the members of this council as well as putting the interests of the Yemeni people above all else. I see my role, therefore, as working with the parties to understand their concerns, their hopes, and expectations, so that I can provide the needed help and support to move the process forward. My role, therefore, perhaps somehow controversially, is to encourage but not expose them, and to work with but not undermine them, all the while reminding them of the need to respect their obligations and responsibilities towards the Yemeni people and the international community.

Madam President,

As the parties resume these formal efforts to make compromise and build trust, it is important that we do not allow ourselves to become embroiled once again in large-scale military confrontations. As I said, the fighting is escalating on all sides, but we have still not seen their operations on the outskirts of the city of Hudaydah and we have still not seen an attack on the city and the port,  and I hope that will continue to be the case. We are concerned about the launching of attacks by Ansar Allah forces towards Saudi Arabia as this council has frequently mentioned, and the attacks on Red Sea shows the continued threat of this conflict towards regional security.

In addition, Madam President,

The continued decline in the Yemeni Riyal and broader economic decay are pushing people further into vulnerable situations, into poverty. The frustration is rising, and this brings with it a threat of conflict in particular in the South, during the past ten days, there have been widespread demonstrations in southern governorates. The protestors gave voice to their concern over the economic situation and basic service delivery. They remind us of the importance of listening to southern voices and ensuring their meaningful participation in the arrangements to put an end to this conflict. I have met with several southern groups in recent months, I will be meeting with them again, and they have been strongly in favor of resolving their concerns through dialogue and they are keen to participate, I am glad to say in the peace process.

I will continue my discussions by beginning a set of visits Madam President in the coming days, including tomorrow to Muscat and then to Sana’a, to engage with the political leadership in those two cities. I have two objectives for this next visit: Firstly: making tangible progress building on discussions in Geneva on key confidence-building measures. This includes on an exchange of prisoners and on the opening of Sana’a airport. I am greatly encouraged by the very positive open and constructive approach to these issues that I have encountered from the Government of Yemen and from the Coalition in their support and I am keen to outline a public commitment to progress on these issues in the coming days; My second objective : of course unsurprisingly is to secure firm commitment from the parties to convene for continued and indeed positive consultations.

I hope to meet with the Government of Yemen in Riyadh and look forward to seeing President Hadi and I must say here that I am very grateful to President Hadi for his personal support and his government support for all the efforts that the UN is making to provide a political solution to this conflict. I am grateful to him and his Government for their Delegation’s presence in Geneva and the constructive participation in rather unusual circumstances that we were able to enjoy with them in Geneva. I am planning to consult, as I have said with a number of southern stakeholders soon to agree on their meaningful participation in the process. I would like to add not least that we had the presence in Geneva of a group of women from Yemen with strong specific strength in various issues and given the fact that there was rather more time available I think we have a very positive trajectory going forward as to how they will both advise me, but also have a meaningful input into the process as we go forward.

Inclusivity indeed is crucial for the success of this process. While the two parties are the two parties and they are the two principal parties, it would behoove me to continue to include broader consultations with people who I think can advise me to do my job better.

Finally, Madam President the reason why I am so grateful to you for convening this session today so soon after Geneva and indeed before I am able to outline hopefully a positive path back to peace, I would just like to say this. The road to peace is never straight. It is always going to be difficult particularly at a time when it is restarting a process after two years of enmity, opposition, doubt, confusion and a lack of confidence. It is not surprising that there will be those who find it difficult in this case to attend, and it is not surprising there will be those who find some element of interest, in the fact that they didn’t.  It is not going to be the last time we will have difficulties, I am sure it will be the last time we have that particular difficulty, but it does not mean for one minute, and this is why I am glad to be here Madam President, that the process towards peace is made more difficult. It is made more urgent. I think we learned things in Geneva and I would like if I may, to ask for the Council’s continued support for the efforts of the international community and my office under the Secretary-General, to move back to the table with all speed.

Thank you very much

Near verbatim transcript of the press remarks by Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen

Geneva, 8 September 2018

Special Envoy:  Thank you very much and thank you all for coming. I can imagine it’s been quite a frustrating week for you. And I am sorry that was the case. And I am sorry it has taken so long to get here.Anyway, I will do as you say: give a few opening remarks and take some questions. So, for me the important aspect of these last three days is: we have started consultations. The process of beginning the road back to peace has started. Not quite in the waythat we would have wanted, but it has begun.

We have had three days, as planned indeed, of very fruitful discussions, consultations with the Government of Yemen delegation who arrived in the city on the 5th. I appreciate their commitment and I appreciate the engagement on the issues and the details of the issues that we have discussed. We focused on, as I mentioned the other day, confidence-building measures; sorry to use that cliché term, but that covered – and it still does by the way, because we are going back after the speech to have a further discussion with the Government delegation – it covers issues like the release of prisoners, the opening of Sana’a airport, economic issues which are of extreme importance now, as we see the protest particularly in the south of Yemen, and a wide range of humanitarian issues, as is normal in a war, to reduce fighting and open up access routes to the stabilized areas where this is possible. And we are talking about specific parts of the country, as well as issues like pauses for vaccination of children – I think I mentioned that the other day. So, we made some good progress. And in fact, I think I mentioned the other day that the environment, oddly enough – you may think it’s a bit of a contradiction – but the environment for discussions is fairly positive, despite what is happening on the ground and despite the fact that we did not of course get the opportunity to receive the Ansarullah delegation.

I think you will be hearing from Minister Al-Yamani a bit later, so I won’t talk about his views or where he’s going. We had the opportunity for a number of meetings with diplomats: the G-19 group ambassadors assigned to Yemen; P5 has beenextremely helpful, P5 ambassadors, permanent five members of the Council, very helpful to us during this week. Everybody is reiterating international support for a political process, and of course that’s exactly, exactly what the people of Yemen say too.

And in that context, I would like to specifically identify very interesting constructive practical discussions, that I have had the chance now that there was a little bit more time during the last few days, to have with a group of Yemeni women, who came here at our request to advise me. We have got a lot of work to do going forward in between the rounds of consultation.

But of course, the elephant in the room, we didn’t manage to get Ansarullah’s delegation, the delegation from Sana’a to come here. And we were engaged throughout these days in discussions and negotiations and arrangements and options andalternatives to get them here. I am not going to go into the details of what those options and arrangements might be – I am sure you have heard a lot and reported a lot, but you will not hear more from me on that. However, I should say that it’s not unusual – it’s not unusual even in the Yemen context, but it’s certainly not unusual in other conflicts – that a restart, I mention this the other day, is a very delicate, fragile moment. People are coming at a time when perhaps all of their constituencies are not fully engaged and don’t see ahead of time results that will come out of the talks, out of consultations. It’s not easy, and it’s not easy in the Yemen context either, so I don’t take this as a fundamental blockage in the process. I should be going to Muscat during the course of the next few days and hopefully on to Sana’a as well of course, to discuss with the Houthis leadership, the Ansarullah leadership.

I would like to thank actually – these negotiations have involved a wide range of actors, diplomats… Thank you to the government of Oman – I talked to their Foreign Minister yesterday, Yousef bin Alawi, a good friend who was very helpful -, to the representatives of the coalition and of course to the Government of Yemen and the permanent five. We were all involved in this. You saw us scurrying around in the hotel over the last few days and everybody wanted to get the circumstances right forAnsarullah to feel comfortable about coming but we didn’t quite make it. We will have similar consultations with Ansarullah. One of the advantages of consultations is that you don’t actually need to be in the same room. You don’t actually need to be in the same city. It is more convenient, it is what we planned, I don’t want to underplay that. But we will go, and we will discuss with them the fruits of the discussions we have had here. So, we will be going to Muscat and Sana’a to take up the issues that we will have discussed here. This is what I mean by: we have begun.

It is too early for me to say when the next round of consultations will take place or will be held. That’s obviously going to be high on the agenda so that we don’t go through a repeat of this week. And I think it is important to know that Ansarullah also wanted to be here and that they are disappointed not to be here, and it is important to make that point very clear. We have had extensive discussions with their representatives in Sana’a and in Muscat this past week, and I have no doubt about that, whatever you may think. And they are very keen to take this process forward, and so is the international community who are remarkably united.

So, with that, I could take some questions.

Statement attributable to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen on the Geneva Consultations

Geneva, 6 September 2018

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen met with the Government of Yemen delegation, headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Khaled al Yamani this morning.

They discussed the expectations of these consultations and relevant issues to the peace process, in particular Confidence Building Measures.

The Special Envoy thanked the Yemeni Government for their positive engagement with his efforts to relaunch the peace process. He acknowledged the efforts made by the Government of Yemen and the Coalition to facilitate the convening of these consultations.

The Special Envoy reiterates the need to reach an inclusive political solution to the conflict in Yemen. Yemeni people who live under dire humanitarian, economic and security conditions hope for a quick settlement of the conflict.

The Special Envoy is mindful of the challenges associated with bringing the parties together to Geneva, bearing in mind that they haven’t met for two years.

He was hopeful to see Sana’a Delegation present to expedite the political process. He continues to make efforts to overcome obstacles to allow the consultations to go forward.

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on the eve of Yemen peace talks

“The children of Yemen need to heal. They need justice. They need lasting peace, now.”

On 14 March 2018 in Aden City, Yemen, a child is displaced from Taiz because of the conflict.
UNICEF/UN0188083/Mohammed

NEW YORK, 5 September 2018 – “Twenty-one children were killed in the Yemen conflict in July, according to United Nations teams on the ground. Another 55 were reportedly killed in two weeks in August. After more than three years of fighting, the situation of children in Yemen is getting worse, not better.

“Social services are barely functioning and the whole country is on the verge of collapse. Most public servants have not received their salaries in almost two years. Already weak civilian infrastructure – including water networks, schools and medical facilities – has come under attack. Basic goods are in critically short supply.

“When these services fail, children are the first to suffer as their health, education and protection needs are overlooked.

“Unless we act now, the impact of this war will haunt us all for generations to come. Even if the conflict were to end today, it would take years for the country to rebuild.

“I urge the warring parties in Yemen, who are expected to convene for peace talks for the first time in three years, as well as their allies, to put the protection of children at the center of discussions and outcomes.

“Specifically, I call on the warring parties to immediately and unconditionally:

  • Guarantee unimpeded and safe access to all children in need, in accordance with humanitarian principles and in line with international humanitarian and human rights law.
  • Stop airstrikes and attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure not least to protect children’s lives;
  • Stop the recruitment and use of children in the conflict and release all children associated with armed forces or groups;
  • Stop the arbitrary arrest and detention of children, including those detained for alleged association with armed opposition groups, release all children detained on these security-related charges, and provide them with reintegration support.

“The children of Yemen need to heal. They need justice. They need lasting peace, now.”

Note to Correspondents Near verbatim transcript of the press conference of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Mr. Martin Griffiths

Geneva, 5 September 2018

Special Envoy: Thank you very much for coming, I am sorry I am slightly late, it’s beena busy day. I’ll make first a short statement and then, as Alessandra said, I am happy to answer some questions.

Since my appointment, it has been a race against time, to face the complexity and urgency of the situation, which affects, as you know, millions, millions of Yemenis. I have been listening to Yemenis and leaders of opinion for the last seven months. I have had thorough discussions with diplomats, civil society, women’s groups, members of the international community and political and social leaders from every part of Yemen’s society. And my abiding impressions from those detailed discussions is this: we have all agreed that time has come to begin a new process, to relaunch the process which will lead to a resolution of this conflict, which has so tragically marked the lives of so many Yemenis, and continues to do so.

And it is for that reason that we are inviting the two main parties of Yemen to the consultations here in Geneva. I’ve invited the Government of Yemen and also Ansarullahto the consultations; delegations from both sides have been formed. Arrangements for all delegations, from both sides, for both delegations to be present, are being finalized, and we are working hard to make sure this happens and we are able to begin theconsultations. I have also invited – and they are here, they have been here for more than a day – a technical advisory group of Yemeni women, chosen on the basis of their professional merits and technical expertise. This is an unusual arrangement because this will be a group of women who have a larger diaspora and a larger constituency with which they will be in constant contact. They will be helping me throughout the process of this first round of consultations and those that follow.

As you know, it has been two years, two years too long, since the parties last met. They met in Kuwait thanks to the hospitality and the leadership of the Emir of Kuwait. I had a pleasure of meeting him the other day, and it has been a process in Yemen, they started discussions in Geneva, they went to Biel, they went to Kuwait. Two years have passed since they met. This is an opportunity this week, for that page to be turned and that corner to be turned.

We are talking about consultations – that word is carefully chosen – this is not a formal negotiation. We are still in the process of trying to understand how the leadership and others in the two parties want to engage with each other, on what issues, in what sequence, in what place. I am also being very actively involved in seeking advice and input from Yemenis who are not part of the two parties. The women’s group I mentioned but we are also very keen to receive the views and issues from the South. I had an opportunity to meet a group of independent Yemeni figures in August in the United Kingdom, and this will go on. There will be a process of continuing consultations. The Security Council resolution requires – apart from the end of the war, the disarmament, and withdrawal of forces – an inclusive political settlement, and that is what we intend to produce and I hope that will start here in Geneva.

The consultations will focus on two main aspects: to reactivate the peace process – as I say in suspension these two years passed, and to lay the groundwork then on the basis of discussions we’ll have this week for formal negotiations which will come later. And the second aspect is confidence building measures, and if I may, I’d like to spend a moment on the issue of confidence building measures. As you know, in any conflict, the confidence between the parties is usually at an all-time low at the time when they start to engage and talk to each other. Building confidence between parties so that they can address issues together, resolve issues through compromise, concession andprinciple, requires trust in each other. Confidence building measures are designed partly to help build this trust through agreements on them, partly to actual deliver some benefits for the people of Yemen, and partly to send a signal to the internationalcommunity and the people of Yemen that something is happening.

The people of Yemen, like in any other conflict, are desperately in need of a signal of hope. We’d like to think that the work we will do together in these next days will begin to send a flickering signal of hope to them. I’ll give you an example – it may not be the one we discussed with the parties because we still have to agree with them what these measures will be – but one example is the arrangements for the vaccination of children. There was a successful vaccination programme in Hodeida in fact in recent weeks, agreeing a pause between the parties so that the agencies could go in and perform their necessary work. This requires the cooperation of the parties, this requires the professionalism of the agencies, and this delivers ideally some benefits, some tangible benefits to the people of Yemen. It’s an example, and we will be looking at others as we have the consultations this week.

I’ll end here because I am sure that you have lots of questions, but I would like to say that I am very grateful to the people in the Palais, my colleagues who put this week together, and to the Swiss Government who are hosting us, helping us financially, helping us with security. This is a great city and am very, very proud to be back here to get the benefits of the Swiss hospitality, the Swiss security and the Palais’ professionalism.

Thank you very much.

Security Council Press Statement on UN Consultations with Yemeni parties

5 September 2018

The members of the Security Council expressed their full support for the UN-led political process in Yemen and the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to bring about a political settlement.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that there can only be a political solution to the conflict in Yemen. They reiterated their call for full implementationof Security Council resolutions and statements, including resolution 2216 (2015).

In this regard, the members of the Security Council welcomed the UN-led consultations with representatives from the Yemeni parties scheduled for 6 September 2018 in Geneva. These initial consultations will be a necessary and important step towards the comprehensive and inclusive security and political agreements that will be required to resolve the conflict, improve the humanitarian situation, and bring peace, prosperity and security to all Yemenis.

On the eve of the Geneva consultations, the members of the Security Council urged the Yemeni parties to seize this opportunity to de-escalate tensions and to participate fully, constructively and in good faith in order to build confidence between them and take a first step towards ending a conflict that has brought severe pain and humanitarian suffering to the Yemeni people. They called on the international community, includingregional neighbours, to support actively these consultations.

The members of the Security Council asked the Special Envoy to keep them closely informed of progress, including by briefing the Security Council on conclusion of the Geneva consultations, so that they may consider further action as necessary in support of a political settlement.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen.