Worthy of Praise, the UN and Saudi Arabia Come Together to Continually Provide Massive Humanitarian Aid to Yemen
By. Martha Jefferson
On June 2, 2020, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was named the largest consistent contributor of humanitarian aid to Yemen. Tuesday marked the start of the High-Level Pledging Event hosted in partnership with the United Nations seeking U.S. $2.3 billion in donations to provide emergency funding for multiple humanitarian sectors in Yemen, including food, shelter and medical assistance.
The event, under the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, is the largest virtual event of its kind to be held on this scale. The event counts on the participation of more than 126 entities event, including 66 states, 15 UN agencies, 3 intergovernmental organizations and more than 39 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in addition to the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Through a videoconference, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivered the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Keynote during the Donors Conference for Yemen 2020. Prince Faisal spoke of the Kingdom´s keenness to host the virtual conference despite the exceptional global circumstances caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and his appreciation to the participating delegations from state governments, international organizations, and NGOs. Furthermore, he affirmed “the Kingdom’s commitment to humanitarian principles and its firm commitment to alleviate the human suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people, as well as their deep appreciation to the United Nations for their efforts in providing humanitarian work through its agencies operating around the world and in Yemen in particular.”
Saudi Arabia has provided humanitarian aid to Yemen since the beginning of the Yemen Crisis in 2014, contributing a total of more than sixteen billion, nine hundred and forty million US dollars, making the Kingdom the top contributor of humanitarian aid to Yemen, according to KS relief. In 2019 Saudi Arabia was the top donorto Yemen, accounting for 31% of all donations. Alongside Saudi Arabia, the United States of America gave 920 million dollars of assistance in 2019, followed by other top donors, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
After Prince Faisal´s keynote address, Dr. Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah, Advisor at the Royal Court and the Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), announcedthat the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pledged USD 500 million to support Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2020 and COVID-19 Response plan. This is not the first.
The support and the donations given to support humanitarian efforts in Yemen are of continual importance.
Speaking at the virtual conference, Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres pointed out that Yemen facesdifficult economic and humanitarian conditions at the institutional and personal levels with famine and malnutrition threatening the lives of children and the threat that more than 30 international humanitarian programs in Yemen could be closed next year due to a lack of funding. Adding to this, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock expressed the situation in Yemen as catastrophic and that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country.
The United Nations and their partners are currently delivering humanitarian assistance to more than 10 million people across the country every month and the continual support of the international community is of utmost importance to provide aid for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Thanking Saudi Arabia for their leading role in the organization of the funding event, representatives from Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain all expressed their support of the efforts to help the Yemini people.
Martha Jefferson is a policy analyst focusing on the US foreign policy and the Middle East politics.