Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 24, 2023
I will try to stay within three minutes, so thank you very much Mr. Bryce-Pease. And thank you very much, Secretary-General Guterres, for shining a spotlight on this crisis. I also want to thank the governments of Italy, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and particularly OCHA for co-hosting us. And I welcome the presence of all of you here. And I hope that your presence reflects the level of commitment and support you will bring to this effort.
Right now, a storm of crises has pushed millions across the Horn of Africa to the brink. A long, protracted drought has exacerbated acute food insecurity. Recent flash floods have wiped out entire homes and livelihoods. And conflict in neighboring countries has also had a devastating impact on vulnerable populations, including internally displaced persons and refugees.
Thirty-six million people now rely on humanitarian assistance, and as we speak, the threat of famine looms larger still. In a world abundant with food, entire communities should never, never starve to death. Never.
When I visited Somalia this past January, I called on the international community to do more, to give more, to work together to end famine forever. Now is the time for us all to make good on that call.
Today, I am proud to announce that the United States will provide nearly $524 million in additional assistance to respond to dire humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa. Today’s announcement brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for response efforts to more than $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2023. That includes my announcement in Mogadishu of over $40 million in additional humanitarian funding from the United States to Somalia.
But I want to be clear: this is a collective responsibility. This is a global problem that requires all of us. This is not one where an African solution to an African problem will work – this is a global problem. It’s a global problem that requires a global solution. But I want to be clear: right now, the global community is simply not meeting the moment.
Humanitarian response efforts are grossly underfunded, often making the availability of assistance too unpredictable. And without a comprehensive approach to humanitarian assistance, we are often left reacting to crises, especially those caused by climate change.
In response to these shortcomings, humanitarian organizations in the region launched the collective Humanitarian Response Plan, which calls for a cumulative $7 billion in assistance. We have to heed that call – every single one of us. And let’s reach for the sky and hopefully reach the top of the buildings here in New York.
We must adapt to the impacts of climate change and build more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems around the world. And we must support humanitarian workers and NGOs that dedicate their lives to saving lives.
In 2023, there is no reason we can’t get resources to people in acute need. It is within our power to prevent imminent famine; to treat women and children for malnutrition; to provide access to food, water, sanitation, hygiene services, and health care to the most vulnerable; and to meet other essential needs.
So, let’s be bold. Let’s work together. Let’s act – with urgency and at scale – to save lives.
Thank you, very much.