Statement: In solidarity, we honour the global humanitarian community
Statement by Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, for World Humanitarian Day, 19 August 2022
On World Humanitarian Day, as humanitarian needs globally have reached an all-time high, we salute and honour humanitarians’ life-saving work. They save and protect lives and ensure access to essential resources including food, shelter and health services in the toughest locations for the 305.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance worldwide.
UN Women stands in solidarity with the global humanitarian community, recognizing the strong collective action needed for effective response and positive impact. It takes a “humanitarian village” for this—including the community-based volunteers at the frontlines of response, civil society, Red Cross and UN agencies, as well as donors and local governments. In many situations, women-led and women’s rights organizations play an especially vital role in protecting and respecting women’s rights, where they alone are able to gain access to women and girls and respond in a culturally appropriate way.
UN Women’s humanitarian services, in partnership with women’s groups and organizations, improve the livelihood opportunities, protection, and self-reliance of crisis-affected women and girls. We contribute to humanitarian response efforts in over 40 crisis settings, supporting women to lead decision-making, and ensuring that humanitarian assistance meets the needs of persons of all genders and ages. The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, for which UN Women serves as the Global Secretariat, enables women from women’s rights organizations to participate in decision-making in humanitarian and crisis response. The Fund has supported over 600 local women’s organizations working on the front lines of crisis settings worldwide since its establishment in 2016.
It is crucial that women are equal participants in the planning and decision-making of all efforts to meet humanitarian needs, with their leadership and contributions recognized and valued. Women and girls play a key role in the survival and resilience of crisis-affected communities. When crisis strikes, women are often the first responders. They are also disproportionately affected by conflict or disasters. These multiples roles must be reflected in all response planning.
Today, we commend and thank those who continue to provide indispensable lifesaving aid despite overwhelming challenges, so that no one is left behind. We commemorate those killed and injured while serving the women, men, girls and boys affected by crises. And we celebrate the solidarity of the collective ‘village’ that continues to make progress in the journey to achieve Agenda 2030.