Sima Bahous: Remarks at the Friends of Yemen Meeting

Sep 25, 2013

Dr. Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary General and Chair of the Regional UN Development Group for the Arab States, addressing partners at the Friends of Yemen meeting, along with HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (left), Dr. Abu Baker Al-Qarbi, Foreign Minister of Yemen (centre).

Statement for Sima Bahous,
Assistant Secretary General and Chair of the Regional UN Development Group for the Arab States

 Friends of Yemen Meeting

New York
25 September, 2013

Your Excellencies, allow me first to recognize the extraordinary efforts of Yemen, people and Government, in making such important advances at a particularly difficult historical juncture.

I thank His Excellency, HRH Prince Saud Al Faisal, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for hosting this meeting and for the leadership of Saudi Arabia in co-chairing the Friends of Yemen. My thanks also go to the United Kingdom for so ably supporting the transition in Yemen, and to His Excellency Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for their support to Yemen and the excellent cooperation between the UN and the Office of the GCC Secretariat in Yemen. I would also like to thank His Excellency, Dr. Abu Baker Al-Qarbi, Foreign Minister of Yemen for his efforts and continuous support to the United Nations.

Honourable Friends of Yemen, I am pleased to address this audience not only on behalf of UNDP, but also of the United Nations Development Group consisting of 32 UN funds, programmes, agencies, departments and offices.

The United Nations continues to support the Government of Yemen in the implementation of the Transitional Plan for Stability and Development, which constitutes the main roadmap for change and recovery in Yemen. In this context, the UN provides dedicated technical support to the Government of Yemen in implementing five of the 13 areas of the Mutual Accountability Framework (MAF).

I am particularly pleased that the Council of Ministers approved last week the National Partnership Framework between the Government of Yemen and civil society organisations. This initiative represents a major milestone for the transition, contributing to a lasting partnership between State and civil society.

I would also like to congratulate the Government of Yemen for the recent approval of the UNDP-supported civil service biometric fingerprint system, the backbone of administrative reform in the country. The plan will allow the removal of double-dippers and ghost workers from the civil service, the army and security sector. I strongly encourage the international community to support this initiative, which requires USD 5.8 million for implementation.

The Youth Employment Action Plan, prepared by the Ministry of Cooperation and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, with UNDP and ILO support, has just been endorsed by the Council of Ministers. This plan will be developed for action in 2014. I encourage partners to support Government efforts to stimulate youth employment and build a promising future for Yemen.  

The UN, and more specifically UNICEF, also supports the vital area of nutrition. The Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Plan 2013-2017, presented earlier this week at the “Scale Up Nutrition” meeting, requires your continued support. The nutrition cluster in the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan is currently funded at 45 per cent.

This leads me to Yemen’s Humanitarian Response Plan for 2013. The Plan targets one third of the Yemeni population, but is only 44 per cent funded. There can be no sustainable transition in Yemen unless the basic needs of millions of the most vulnerable populations are met. I appeal for donor support, in particular in underfunded areas including early recovery, education, protection and WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene).

I would like to particularly stress the important role of women over these two years of transition in Yemen. Yemeni women across political parties, civil society organizations and private sector played a decisive role in balancing the national dialogue, bringing new perspectives of reconciliation and peace, as well as new prospects for building resilience and confidence in the reconstruction of Yemen. I urge all parties to strongly support Yemeni women's efforts at this critical juncture.

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen will only be resolved when longer-term efforts, aimed at reducing chronic vulnerability through recovery and development, take place in a sustainable way. In 2014, the humanitarian community will therefore adopt a resilience-centred approach.

On a final note, I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Planning, the World Bank and the Executive Bureau, and if you would allow, the UN, for having integrated efforts to support the implementation of the Yemen Transitional Programme. I am also pleased to report that the Joint Steering Committee of the Peace building Fund, chaired by His Excellency Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa, met last week and endorsed the draft priority plan, noting its significance coming at the conclusion of the National Dialogue.

Thank you.

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