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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 28 Member States.
Thank you for bringing us together today to discuss this important matter, and we thank the briefers for their insightful testimonies.
According to the UNHCR Global Trends Report, more than 70 million people are now forcibly displaced – twice as many as 20 years ago. These rising displacement numbers are a worrying trend. We know that people do not only flee from war, conflicts, and violence. Climate-change induced displacement is on the rise too.
The EU and its Member States are committed to tackling the root causes of forced displacement, by stepping up efforts to prevent new conflicts, resolve existing ones and address major drivers of forced displacement. The EU's approach is holistic and integrated. Sustaining peace is our joint responsibility. It should flow through all three pillars of the United Nations, as advocated by the UN Secretary General’s reform agenda.
Let me highlight three points.
First, our priority should be to pursue political solutions. The role of the UN Security Council and its members is crucial in seeking unified actions in addressing the root causes of displacement and promoting conflict prevention.
As conflicts have multiple dimensions, it remains critical, both for the EU and for the UN, to take a multi-dimensional approach to their prevention or resolution through the use of all available policies and instruments.
The EU is increasingly applying the nexus approach as a crucial component of our conflict prevention and resolution policies. Working more coherently and effectively across humanitarian, development, political, peace and human rights actors to deliver sustainable solutions is an important aspect of the EU approach to forced displacement.
Second, as the leading global aid donor, we provide humanitarian assistance and long-term support to refugees, asylum seekers, stateless and internally displaced persons. We work closely with the UN and our partners in this important endeavour. In 2018, the EU allocated 80% of its humanitarian assistance to address the needs of forcibly displaced people and their host communities. We work in 49 countries towards durable solutions with the ultimate objective to achieve peace and stability. Through the EU Trust Fund for Africa as well as several bilateral EU member State initiatives to respond to displacement, the EU also contributes to the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework.
The UN Security Council has an important role to play in removing barriers to delivering assistance and in promoting the respect of international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international refugee law as applicable. Our humanitarian partners need to be allowed to carry out their work and provide timely and needs-based assistance without obstacles.
Third, addressing forced displacement requires a global, inclusive partnership: solidarity and shared responsibility are needed from the entire international community. The EU and the UN benefit from a longstanding strategic relationship and from a strong partnership in the main humanitarian crises.
Together we should also continue our efforts to strengthen AU-EU-UN trilateral cooperation as we share the goal of promoting multilateralism and the rules-based international order, and we can achieve tangible results.
In partnership, we also need to better address the needs of internally displaced persons at all levels. We believe that international attention to internal displacement has been insufficient in comparison with the rising needs. The EU and its member states, with 29 other states, have therefore called on the Secretary-General to establish a High level Panel on IDPs that would assess how collectively we can improve strategies for assisting states in responding to, and reducing internal displacement. We hope such a Panel will bring more attention and support to this issue, while building on best practices.
Finally, Mr President,
The upcoming Global Refugee Forum will be an important opportunity to demonstrate tangible support to help ease the burden of refugee hosting countries. It will also allow to share best practices of refugee protection and solutions in order to mobilise broader global support.