NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia has urged the need for greater international efforts toward disaster relief assistance at the UN in New York.
It came as the Kingdom addressed the UN Sixth Committee, the body’s primary forum for legal questions.
The 76th session of the UN General Assembly was held Monday to discuss agenda item 87, “the protection of persons in the event of disasters.”
In a speech, Nidaa Abu Ali, a member of the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN in New York, addressed item 87 as a “fundamental principle” of humanitarianism.
Abu Ali said that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic “demonstrated the fast-paced speed at which disasters occur,” urging the need for a global response framework and cooperation in disaster situations.
She added that the Kingdom is a leading country in implementing strong and immediate measures in response to emergency crises while also assisting at the international level by providing humanitarian relief and economic assistance to developing countries.
Abu Ali noted that since its establishment in 2015, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has contributed to meeting urgent needs in cooperation with international organizations by combating disasters and food scarcity through financial and logistical support. During the Kingdom’s 2020 G20 Presidency, Abu Ali said that the most notable effort in combating the global pandemic and salvaging the global economy was the $11 billion allocated for medical support in developing countries.
On a national level, Abu Ali stressed the Kingdom’s initiative, associated with the Sustainable Development Goals, to activate a national strategy to reduce disaster risks, integrating measures into local development activities.
The strategy will aid in the reduction of risk, especially in vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
In her final comments, Abu Ali urged the need to find a common legal framework to facilitate international humanitarian aid and international cooperation.
She expressed the Kingdom’s support for preparing an international legal instrument and convention to ensure the protection of people during times of disaster in a manner that does not conflict with the sovereignty or national legislation of countries around the world.