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Ministers welcome UN humanitarian chief, Sir Mark Lowcock, to Dublin

 - Tánaiste Coveney and Minister Cannon announce funding for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and support for humanitarian crises in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., and Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Mr. Ciarán Cannon, T.D., today announced Irish funding of €2.9 million for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).  They also announced a further €8.5 million to relieve humanitarian crises in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. 


The announcement comes in advance of a visit to Ireland by Sir Mark Lowcock, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.  In his capacity as head of UN OCHA, Sir Mark Lowcock coordinates humanitarian relief operations across the globe, ensuring that relief is delivered when and where it is needed most.  While in Dublin, Under-Secretary-General Lowcock will deliver a keynote address on the global humanitarian response system and the need, in particular, for innovation in how it is financed.  As well as engagements with the Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, and Minister of State, Ciarán Cannon,the Under-Secretary-General will meet with representatives from the NGO sector, academia and the private sector.


Speaking ahead of his meeting with the UN Under-Secretary-General, the Tánaiste said:


‘The United Nations is a cornerstone of Ireland’s global engagement.  I am pleased to announce almost €11.5 million in Irish Aid support to the UN’s humanitarian relief work.  This work helps alleviate the vulnerability of those most exposed to the effects of conflict, natural disaster and famine, in particular those most at risk due to the enduring crises in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. However, across the world, humanitarian need continues to outstrip the resources available.  The Government is strongly committed to working with UN Under-Secretary-General Lowcock and the wider UN system to help put in place new solutions, including looking at innovative financing, and, most importantly, to find long-lasting solutions for peace.”


Minister of State Cannon went on to say:


‘I am delighted Sir Mark Lowcock has chosen Ireland to deliver a keynote address on the global humanitarian response system and the need, in particular, for innovation in humanitarian financing.  His presence in Dublin is an opportunity to demonstrate Ireland’s support for the important work of the UN emergency relief system and for the need to look to new ways to meet the needs of those most vulnerable and at risk.


From June, Ireland will lead the international donor group which supports the work of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  This will allow Ireland to work with OCHA on the quality of humanitarian responses to the many crises across the globe.  A particular focus for us will be to identify opportunities for innovation across the system, particularly innovative financing for crisis response – the ultimate aim being to reduce the suffering of those millions of families hungry, displaced or living in fear.’ 




Notes to the Editor:

  • Sir Mark Lowcock was appointed as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (USG) and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) and formally took up office on 01 September 2017.  In this role, he is also head of UN OCHA (Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).
  • OCHA is the humanitarian arm of the United Nations Secretariat. Its mandate is “to ensure better preparation for, as well as rapid and coherent response to, natural disasters and other emergencies’. This responsibility is delegated to the ERC, who leads, coordinates and facilitates humanitarian assistance as head of UN OCHA. 
  • Sir Mark Lowcock visits Ireland on 22 and 23 March 2018.  On 23 March he will deliver a lecture as part of the Iveagh House Commemorations’ lecture series. The lecture entitled - ‘A Collective Call towards Innovation in Humanitarian Financing’ - is part of the Casement lecture series, in memory of Roger Casement, Ireland’s first true humanitarian.
  • As part of the lecture, Sir Lowcock will set out his blue sky thinking on humanitarian finance. He will present his perspective on partnerships with the World Bank, the IMF and regional development banks. He will examine the potential of strengthened partnerships with the private sector and will explore his particular interest in insurance based risk financing. He will also offer his views on how to make better use of Islamic social finance to meet the acute needs of those impacted by crises.
  • Please find below Youtube link for the live stream of Sir Lowcock’s lecture at 1pm: https://youtu.be/crWPrraUuKQ
  • Photo Credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Irish Aid Funding to UN OCHA

  • In 2017 Ireland entered into a multi-annual partnership with OCHA, for 2017-2018 and increased funding from €2.5 million to €2.9 million per annum. 
  • Ireland provides humanitarian funding through the UN, international organisations and NGOs.  In terms of UN funding, support is channelled through partners such as OCHA and includes funding to OCHA managed pooled funding mechanisms such as the CERF (Central Emergency Response Fund) and the Humanitarian Pooled Funds (HPF).  The funding announced today for Yemen, Iraq and Syria (the latter through the Turkey HPF) is for the Humanitarian Pooled Funds.  Ireland was the 7th largest donor globally to the UN Humanitarian Pooled Funds in 2017, contributing over €30 million to 13 funds.  These funds allow donors to pool their contributions to ensure targeted support for local humanitarian efforts. 
  • Ireland provided €5.3 million in total to the Yemen crisis in 2017, and €16.5 million since 2012.
  • In response to the Syria crisis, Ireland provided €1.5 million to the Turkey Humanitarian Fund in 2017 and a total of €7 million since 2014.  This was part of a broader response of over €90m in support to the Syria crisis since 2012.  The Turkey Humanitarian Fund channels resources to humanitarian partners operating cross-border into Syria.
  • Ireland has provided €2.09 million to the Iraq crisis in 2017, and €10.36 million since 2012