Delivered By: Mrs. Ameirah AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative
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I would like to begin by congratulating you on assuming the presidency of the Council and note that you can count on our full support. I also thank Gabon for a successful and productive presidency last month as well as you, Mr. Grandi, for your briefing and the important work that you and your office have carried out globally.
The world faces a myriad, intersecting challenges – climate change, food insecurity, and conflict – all of which drive or directly impact forced displacement. These phenomena are further compounded by the challenges of post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery, economic instability, and growing polarization.
And it is not just the number of challenges that should alarm us, it is also their scale and intensity. This year, and for the first time on record, the world marked a grave milestone with more than 100 million people forced to seek safety away from their homes – unfortunately, only to face difficult living conditions. We stress the need for all refugees to have equal access to basic services, such as health services, food, and drinking water, and to be protected from all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence and exploitation.
We continue to follow with concern numerous challenging and complex humanitarian situations around the world, including Afghanistan, Myanmar and Ukraine. The UAE continues to provide humanitarian assistance worldwide, including in support of Syrian and Rohingya refugees, as well as to IDPs in Ethiopia.
As we heard today, the Council is currently working on humanitarian carveout on UN sanctions. We have strongly supported such efforts as a Council member, and will work towards making it a reality, so that refugees and all those in need can receive humanitarian assistance.
Addressing the root causes and contributing factors of forced displacement must remain our number one approach to prevent its occurrence in the first place. To end conflicts peacefully, political solutions, dialogue, and support for de-escalation must remain the building blocks of our efforts. Additionally, this approach is also more efficient and cost-effective, as it ensures that the most vulnerable are able to remain in their homes in secure conditions.
Simultaneously, we also believe that the transformative potential of education can address the root causes that lead to forced displacement in conflict sittings. As we heard from the High Commissioner Mr. Grandi during the UAE’s RewirED Summit in 2021, finding new ways to provide education to those forcibly displaced can mitigate the risk of leaving them behind and build their capacities to contribute to their futures. To this end, the UAE has sought to invest in innovative education tools, including the ‘Digital School’ launched this year to train educators and provide distance learning for children, including children in refugee camps, including in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
However, we all know that climate change is and will increase these pressures of forced displacement at an alarming rate. According to a World Bank forecast, there could be up to 216 million people displaced by climate change globally by 2050. Effective mitigation and adaptation strategies are necessary to lessen the impact of climate change on forced displacement. The attention that this Council devotes to these issues will in no small part impact the seriousness and the effectiveness of the response of the international community.
In conclusion, the UAE remains committed to the protection of refugees and IDPs, including through its provision of humanitarian aid and emergency relief to the most vulnerable with focus on women and children. We continue to work closely with international partner organizations such as UNHCR.