Continuing its annual session in Geneva, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today adopted a resolution to strengthen the world body's capacity to coordinate emergency humanitarian efforts, and called upon all parties to armed conflicts to comply with international law.
Entitled "Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations," the terms of the text calls on belligerents to comply with their obligations under humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. It also urges all States to take necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.
Under a section that deals with how best to transition relief efforts to sustainable development, ECOSOC stressed the importance of improving the institutional capacity of least developed countries affected by conflict and natural disasters. This would include the provision of adequate support for the rehabilitation, reconstruction, poverty reduction and where appropriate, peace-building efforts.
ECOSOC Vice-President Valery P. Kuchinsky said the resolution, adopted at the end of a segment on humanitarian affairs, benefited from the expertise and perspectives expressed by the Member States, the UN Secretariat and specialized agencies, and humanitarian partners. The two-and-a-half day segment had included three panels - on humanitarian financing, the transition from relief to development and on the effects of HIV/AIDS and other widespread diseases - as well as five information briefings.
The resolution also calls upon UN organizations to improve and increase consistency in assessing humanitarian needs. This improvement would take place, among other things, by enhancing the quality, accuracy and transparency of needs assessment as well as including States and other humanitarian actors in assessment missions.
In addition, the text urges the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator to develop a global humanitarian financial tracking system and to refine the comprehensive system for the collection and dissemination of data on humanitarian needs and contributions. In this connection, donors were encouraged to consider taking steps to harmonize reporting requirements as well as to enhance reporting to the financial tracking system.