GENEVA / YEMEN PLEDGING

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26-Feb-2019 00:04:33
Donors had pledged USD 2.6 billion “to help address the dramatic humanitarian situation in Yemen”, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday following a high-level pledging conference for the war-torn country. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / YEMEN PLEDGING
TRT: 4:33
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH /ARABIC /NATS

DATELINE: 26 FEBRUARY 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations, cloudy.
2. Med shot, Podium and journalists.
3. Wide shot, journalists, podium.
4. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“The donors have pledged 30 per cent more than last year to help address the dramatic humanitarian situation in Yemen. From $2 billion in the pledging conference of 2018 to $2.6 billion in the pledging conference of 2019. Several countries have naturally increased their contributions, but I think it is fair to say that the two most relevant elements in this increase came from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.”
5. Wide shot, Room XVIII.
6. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Tens of thousands of people have bene killed or injured since the conflict escalated, many of them civilians. Many more have died from preventable diseases, exacerbated by malnutrition. Twenty million people cannot reliably feed themselves or their families. Almost 10 million are just one step away from famine. Children did not start the war in Yemen, but they are paying the highest price. Some 360,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, fighting for their lives every day. One credible report puts the number of children under five who have died of starvation at more than 80,000.”
7. Med shot, podium.
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden:
“We must now face the shocking fact that 240,000 people, according to newly published IPC report, are in Category 5, meaning that they are facing starvation. Ten million people don’t know where to find their next meal, and as so often is the case women and girls find themselves in a particularly vulnerable situation, as you’ve already heard the Secretary-General mention. Women eat last and least.”
9. Med shot, podium
10. SOUNDBITE (French) Simonetta Sommaruga, Vice President of the Federal Council of Switzerland:
“Our strategy for co-operation, which covers four years, is up to 54 million francs in total. In Yemen, Switzerland is focusing on the areas where it has particular expertise, such as the water sector, protection of the civilian population and food security.”
11. Med shot, podium from the right side.
12. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“We had an important moment in Stockholm, in which it was possible to agree on a ceasefire in Hodeida and a number of other aspects. We know that there is a hope for the end of the conflict, but we know that we are also facing many obstacles in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.”
13. Med shot, journalists and camera pool.
14. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“We are not disregarding the war that exists and the fact that a number of countries, not only the one that you mentioned, have had direct impact on that war. Obviously, what we want is to end the war and to end all the consequences of the war, the people that are killed, the people that suffer from all other kind of impacts. Independently of that, today we had the pledging conference to address humanitarian needs.”
15. Med shot, journalists.
16. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Abdullah Al Rabbeah, Adviser at the Royal Court and General Supervisor of King Salman’s Centre for Relief and Humanitarian Aid of Saudi Arabia:
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to announce today the Kingdom’s donation to the amount of USD 500 million in support of the United Nations’ Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019.”
17. Wide shot, Room XVIII.
18. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates:
“We continue to support this urgent an vital aid, we have allocated an additional $500 million within our commitments.”
19. Med shot, Journalists and cameras.
20. Med shot, back of journalists’ pool.
21. Med shot, journalist and Secretary-General.
22. Med shot, journalists.
23. Med shot, stake-out attendees.
24. Med shot, journalist.
25. Med shot, Secretary-General through the crowd.

STORYLINE:

Donors have pledged USD 2.6 billion to provide urgently needed support to millions of Yemeni people facing an “overwhelming humanitarian calamity”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a pledging conference in Geneva, Mr. Guterres welcomed the generosity of Member States, who had pledged 30 per cent more than last year. The UN chief also announced that the World Food Programme (WFP) has been able to reach the Red Sea Mills in the key port city of Hudaydah, where it has more than 50,000 tonnes of wheat, which is enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month.

The UN food assistance agency confirmed the information but has yet to announce if its stocks are fit to eat, after months without access owing to fighting.

The highest contributors at the conference - at USD 500 million each - were Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, supporters of the internationally recognized Government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“The donors have pledged 30 per cent more than last year to help address the dramatic humanitarian situation in Yemen,” the UN Secretary-General said. “From USD 2 billion in the pledging conference of 2018 to USD 2.6 billion in the pledging conference of 2019. Several countries have naturally increased their contributions, but I think it is fair to say that the two most relevant elements in this increase came from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”

Nearly four years since fighting escalated in Yemen between Government forces and the Houthi opposition, civilians continue to suffer most.

“Tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured since the conflict escalated, many of them civilians,” Guterres said. “Many more have died from preventable diseases, exacerbated by malnutrition. Twenty million people cannot reliably feed themselves or their families. Almost 10 million are just one step away from famine.”

Highlighting the impact on the youngest Yemenis, the UN chief added that “children did not start the war in Yemen, but they are paying the highest price. Some 360,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, fighting for their lives every day. One credible report puts the number of children under five who have died of starvation at more than 80,000.”

Conference co-host Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström described a similarly dire situation in the country, which was already one of the poorest in the world before violence cut desperately needed imports of food, fuel and medicine. Citing the latest food security data, which is known officially as the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) index, she said: “We must now face the shocking fact that 240,000 people, according to newly published IPC report, are in Category 5, meaning that they are facing starvation. Ten million people don’t know where to find their next meal, and as so often is the case women and girls find themselves in a particularly vulnerable situation, as you’ve already heard the Secretary-General’s mention. Women eat last and least.”

Speaking on behalf of second co-host Switzerland, Vice-President Simonetta Sommaruga confirmed that the Confederation’s near USD 15 million contribution for 2019 would focus on the protection of civilians and sustainable support for Yemen.

“Our strategy for co-operation, which covers four years, is up to 54 million francs in total,” she said. “In Yemen, Switzerland is focusing on the areas where it has particular expertise such as the water sector, protection of the civilian population and food security.”

Referring to the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement signed between the Yemeni Government and Houthi opposition in December, Guterres acknowledged that significant challenges remained in implementing a withdrawal from the key Red Sea port of Hudaydah.

“We had an important moment in Stockholm, in which it was possible to agree on a ceasefire in Hudaydah and a number of other aspects,” he said. “We know that there is a hope for the end of the conflict, but we know that we are also facing many obstacles in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.”

Guterres also rejected suggestions that the UN was ignoring human rights concerns in Yemen while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE “and other countries” provided military support for the Government of Yemen.

He said “we are not disregarding the war that exists and the fact that a number of countries, not only the one that you mentioned, have had direct impact on that war. Obviously, what we want is to end the war and to end all the consequences of the war: the people that are killed, the people that suffer from all other kind of impacts. Independently of that, today we had the pledging conference to address humanitarian needs.”

The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen requires USD 4 billion to reach 21.4 million people who are barely surviving. More than half of the funding is destined for emergency food aid for 12 million people - a 50 per cent increase compared to last year.
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