18 July 2002

Statement by
H.E. Dr. Nasrollah Kazemi-Kamyab
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the United Nations
to the Humanitarian Segment of Substantive Session of ECOSOC

New York- July 18, 2002
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful


Mr. President,

Associating myself with the statement made by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Group of 77 and china, allow me at the very outset to express our deep appreciation for your active and engaged stewardship of the work of the humanitarian segment during the entire process of consultations. I would also like to express our sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report submitted under the designated theme topic of this segment. Knowing the importance and the complexities involved in the issue, we stand ready to contribute constructively to the discussions in the formal and informal settings.

Mr. President

We commend the report of Secretary General for capturing many aspects of the emergency humanitarian assistance including the transition from relief to development. While emphasizing on developmental aspect of the issue which forms one of the major pillars of the theme topic, it is our firm conviction that we need a new vision of ensuring that vulnerability is mitigated through helping to bridge the gap between relief and development. One very important way is to strengthen the development role of the UN system and enhance the effectiveness of its development activities and its support for national development strategies and programmes.

My delegation considers capacity building as a major component of the overall efforts to limit the negative effects of disasters. The United Nations system should play its highest and prominent role in this context. The magnitude and duration of many emergencies might be beyond the response capacity of many affected countries, which inevitably calls for international cooperation to address emergency situations and also to strengthen the response capacity. Recent experiences in capacity building seem to support the conclusion that strong national capacity could better materialize the response coordination to any humanitarian emergency. To this end, the United Nations should continue to strengthen national and regional capacity building for natural disasters for which mobilization of adequate financial resources at international level and within the framework of CAP, can hardly be over-emphasized.

As a natural disaster prone country that was recently hit again by another powerful earthquake, we support the efforts of the OCHA to strengthen its regional presence to provide more effective assistance to disaster prone countries and to better coordinate and develop existing response mechanisms. We very much go along with the recommendation of the Secretary General that relief organizations and other institutions should identify innovative ways to promote national, local and regional capabilities in disaster management.
The initiative to develop a legal framework for international urban search and rescue assistance is an important tool that can contribute to natural disaster response by providing onsite facilities and other technical equipment needed to save lives. To this effect we welcome the efforts to expedite the work of international urban search and rescue operations, and look forward to the adoption by the General Assembly of the draft resolution prepared under this title, in its upcoming session.

Mr. President

Worse than the disasters plight is the precarious situation of refugees, an unfortunate persisting phenomenon of global dimensions and the one also requiring urgent global collective response. The plight of refugees and displaced persons can hardly find a more telling example than that of the oppressed Palestinian people which is a major current problem facing international community. We must take a very strong position in denouncing and stopping the policies of systematic destruction of Palestinian homes and simultaneous expansion of settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. It is the occupation of Palestinian land as the root cause of calamities of the Palestinian people which should be addressed.

Mr. President

Done in true spirit of humanitarian intentions, the activities of the UN system including UNHCR in providing assistance to internally displaced persons cannot but be appreciated. Having acknowledged that, however, it should be mentioned that this sphere of activities, though noble, is not the core function of related UN agencies and offices. Being an issue of complicated nature that requires cool-headed approach, it should await by necessity the finalization of a legal document to deal both with the definition of IDP and the mandate of the relevant UN institutions.

As a country host to millions of refugees during the past decades and present years, Islamic republic of Iran is glad that the international community has committed itself to strengthening international cooperation including burden sharing and coordination of humanitarian assistance to countries hosting refugees. This is truly an important commitment whose timely fulfillment is of equal importance.

Finally, we commend the leading role of the UN and its humanitarian operations in Afghanistan that are aimed at reconstruction and ultimately development of that war torn country. The more Afghanistan is developed and free from hunger and diseases, the less its neighbors as well as the international community are posed to the complicated challenges such as migration, refugees and land degradation, all of which are but some of the consequences of underdevelopment.

I thank you Mr. President

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