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Ireland to participate in UN Pledging Conference for Yemen

Funding, Irish Aid, MoS Cannon, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, United Nations, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, 2018


Ireland will today pledge at least €4 million in humanitarian funding for 2018 in response to the crisis in Yemen at a UN Pledging Conference in Geneva. Since 2012, Ireland has provided €16.5 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen, including €4million in assistance announced in March this year. 

Speaking ahead of the conference the Tánaiste said:

“A staggering 22 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance as country attempts to cope with widespread food insecurity, the largest outbreak of cholera in modern history and the collapse of the economy and social services. Ireland will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Yemen, as we have done since the crisis began.

“But we should not lose sight of the fact that this alarming array of problems are all linked to the ongoing conflict. Only a negotiated political settlement can provide lasting relief to the suffering of the people of Yemen. Ireland welcomes the appointment of the new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Martin Griffiths and calls for all parties to engage in good faith with the UN-led process.”

The Tánaiste went on to say:

“I remain deeply concerned by the level of violence in Yemen, and by reports of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. I condemn in the strongest terms all actions which endanger civilians, including the recent missile attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which killed one person, and the airstrike on the port city of Hodeida yesterday which killed fourteen people, many of them women and children. Ireland has repeatedly called on all parties to the conflict to take every necessary step to ensure the protection of civilians and to comply with international humanitarian law. I take this opportunity to reiterate my call for full and unimpeded humanitarian and commercial access to Yemen, in order to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.”

Minister of State Cannon added:

“The international community, including Ireland, are gathered in Geneva today for a High-Level Pledging Event to support the humanitarian response in Yemen.  Ireland has already contributed €4 million in March to the UN’s Humanitarian Pooled Fund this year. This fund provides a channel which maximises impact with rapid, flexible funding to those most in need. Ireland will continue to review provision of further funds throughout the year, and I would urge other donors to do the same.”

Press Office
03 April 2018


Notes to Editor:

  • Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crises in terms of people in need. In 2018, the UN estimates that 22.2 million people (75% of the population) are severely affected and require some form of humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million who are in acute need. In July 2015, the UN declared a “Level 3” emergency in Yemen - the most severe level of humanitarian crisis.

  • The conflict has had devastating consequences for civilians and protection remains a grave concern. At the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017, Ireland was part of a core group of countries that drove forward the adoption of a Resolution on Yemen. This Resolution establishes a group of international experts, who will examine the facts in relation to violations of human rights and humanitarian law on the ground. This group will report back to the Human Rights Council, as an important step towards accountability in Yemen.
  • The crisis in Yemen is marked by severe food insecurity and ongoing threat of famine. 17.8 million people are currently food insecure, including 8.4 million severely so.

  • Yemen is also facing a cholera outbreak of unprecedented scale. While numbers of newly reported cases are declining, the risk of another flare up of cholera remains high – particularly as the rainy season approaches. Over 1 million suspected cases and 2,266 associated deaths have been reported across the country since April 2017.

  • In 2018, the UN has appealed for $2.96 billion to meet the needs of over 13 million people affected by conflict in Yemen.
  • Humanitarian access within Yemen remains extremely difficult. Bureaucratic impediments and delays to humanitarian movements continue to interfere with humanitarian action. At the Foreign Affairs Council in December 2017, the Tánaiste urged stronger EU action on humanitarian access in Yemen, and the EU is currently examining how to pursue this.
  • On 25 March Houthi missile attacks, including the use of ballistic missiles, targeted several cities in Saudi Arabia and resulted in at least one fatality. The Security Council condemned these attacks in the strongest possible terms in a statement on 28th March.
  • The high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, organised by the United Nations and the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland, aims to galvanize financial and political support in response to the rapidly deteriorating situation and the threat of famine. Ireland will be represented at the event by Ambassador Michael Gaffey, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
  • In fulfilment of Ireland’s pledge, funding of €4 million has already been disbursed to the UN’s Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF). The YHF provides rapid, flexible funding to NGOs and UN agencies which have the best capacity to deliver services on the ground. Services cover a range of different sectors including health, water and sanitation, nutrition and education. Since 2012, Ireland has provided almost €16.5 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen, which has been significantly scaled since 2015 in response to the escalating crisis. In 2017 Ireland provided over €5.3 million.