Statement of Sima Bahous Assistant Secretary General and Chair of the Regional UN Development Group for the Arab States
I thank His Excellency, HRH Prince Saud Al Faisal, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for hosting this meeting and for the leadership of Saudi Arabia in co-chairing the Friends of Yemen.
Honourable Friends of Yemen, I am pleased to address this audience not only on behalf of UNDP, but also of the United Nations Development Group consisting of 32 UN funds, programmes, agencies, departments and offices.
The United Nations continues to support the Government of Yemen in the implementation of the Transitional Plan for Stability and Development, which constitutes the main roadmap for change and recovery in Yemen. In this context, the UN provides dedicated technical support to the Government of Yemen in implementing five of the 13 areas of the Mutual Accountability Framework (MAF).
I am particularly pleased that the Council of Ministers approved last week the National Partnership Framework between the Government of Yemen and civil society organisations. This initiative represents a major milestone for the transition, contributing to a lasting partnership between State and civil society.
I would also like to congratulate the Government of Yemen for the recent approval of the UNDP-supported civil service biometric fingerprint system, the backbone of administrative reform in the country. The plan will allow the removal of double-dippers and ghost workers from the civil service, the army and security sector. I strongly encourage the international community to support this initiative, which requires USD 5.8 million for implementation.
A draft Youth Employment Action Plan, prepared by the Ministry of Cooperation and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, with UNDP and ILO support, has just been endorsed by the Council of Ministers. This plan, which will be developed for action in 2014, is another important milestone, and I encourage partners to support Government efforts to stimulate youth employment and build a promising future for Yemen.
The UN, and more specifically UNICEF, also supports the vital area of nutrition. The draft Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Plan 2013-2017, presented earlier this week at the “Scale Up Nutrition” meeting, requires your continued support. The nutrition cluster in the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan is currently funded at 45 per cent.
This leads me to the last, but not least, MAF priority area where the UN and humanitarian partners are involved. Yemen’s Humanitarian Response Plan for 2013 targets one third of the Yemeni population, but is only 44 per cent funded. There can be no sustainable transition in Yemen unless the basic needs of millions of the most vulnerable populations are met. I appeal for donor support, in particular in underfunded areas including early recovery, education, protection and WASH.
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen will only be resolved when longer-term efforts, aimed at reducing chronic vulnerability through recovery and development, take place in a sustainable way. In 2014, the humanitarian community will therefore adopt a resilience-centred approach.
On a final note, I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Planning, the World Bank and the Executive Bureau, and if you would allow the UN, for having integrated efforts to support the implementation of the Yemen Transitional Programme. I am also pleased to report that the Joint Steering Committee of the Peace building Fund, chaired by His Excellency Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa, met last week and endorsed the draft priority plan, noting its significance coming at the conclusion of the National Dialogue.