Statement Regarding Today’s Pledging Conference for Yemen organized by Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Nations
March 01, 2021
The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC expresses its sincere gratitude to its allies and other close international partners today for their generous contributions at the United Nations’ virtual high-level pledging conference on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Led by the efforts of Sweden and Switzerland, the pledging conference garnered $1.7 billion in total donations that will help alleviate the suffering of millions of innocent Yemeni men, women, and children.
However, little to none of those suffering will receive this aid if the international community does not exert maximum pressure on the Houthis to end their campaign against the Yemeni people by stealing precious resources and blocking aid delivery. As the conflict turns towards its seventh year, the Yemeni people need this aid desperately.
80 percent of the Yemeni population relies on aid assistance and protection. Each month, the UN’s humanitarian operations help provide essential relief to more than 10 million Yemenis in need. The funds pledged today by our partners will be used to support the people most in need through a variety of programs and initiatives operating around the country.
The Embassy also thanks newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Biden administration for further highlighting the importance of addressing and ending the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The United States continues to be an important partner in humanitarian aid, pledging $191 million for this year, and more than $3 billion over the past five years. The United Stats’s continued contributions only further strengthens the longstanding ties between the two countries.
“Today, famine is bearing down on Yemen,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated at the conference. “The race is on, if we want to prevent hunger and starvation from taking millions of lives. It is impossible to overstate the severity of the suffering in Yemen.”
Today’s pledging conference comes at a time when the Houthis have made clear that they have no plan to help end the humanitarian crisis. Instead, they would rather continue their assault on Marib, attack innocent civilians in neighboring countries, and obstruct humanitarian aid workers and projects from fulfilling their duties. This obstruction in the aid process has caused the UN to cut back or even end relief programs. The funds raised today will help address these cutbacks as well as persistent challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the Houthis’ antagonistic behavior.
“Right now, millions of Yemenis are looking to the world for help,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Lowcock said. “The good news is the world knows exactly what is needed to prevent catastrophe: pay for the aid operation, ensure access for aid workers, support the economy, and – most of all – end the war. The only question is: what will the world choose to do?”
Therefore, member countries must recognize that humanitarian aid and programs, while helpful, mean nothing if they continue to be blocked by the Houthis from reaching the people who need it most. As Prime Minister Dr. Maeen Saeed noted at the conference, the Houthis actively threaten the lives of two million Yemenis with their terror in Marib. “Aid alone won’t end the conflict.” Secretary Blinken’s words will ring hollow if there is no active effort from member countries to pressure and stop the Houthis and their malfeasance.
Despite the Houthis’ transgressions, the legitimate internationally recognized government continues to work closely with its international partners to help innocent Yemenis in the face of these various threats. The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that essential humanitarian aid is effectively and efficiently delivered to the people of Yemen and reaffirms its commitment to reaching a peaceful, political resolution to the conflict.