Dear Assistant Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we enter the fifth year of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the humanitarian situation remains precarious. The ongoing armed conflict along the contact line continues to claim victims on a nearly daily basis. Four million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than three million people have been displaced by the conflict, many of them within Ukraine.
Public and media attention has shifted to humanitarian crises in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, there are plenty of humanitarian crises that deserve both our attention and support. Nevertheless, we need to make sure that Ukraine does not join the long list of forgotten humanitarian crises that suffer from donor fatigue and a lack of international humanitarian engagement.
The conflict-affected people of Eastern Ukraine are about to face another hard winter. Therefore, today’s briefing is particularly timely, and we would like to express our gratitude to ASG Müller for convening today’s meeting.
Germany is also grateful for the strong engagement of the European Union on the humanitarian issues in Ukraine. The EU plays a key role in keeping the issue on the agenda and can count on Germany’s full support in its efforts.
From the very start of the conflict in 2014, Germany has been one of the largest contributors of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. In 2016, Germany provided 96 million euro in humanitarian and development aid to Ukraine, making Germany the number one donor in Ukraine.
Germany has supported and continues to support humanitarian assistance projects in the areas of health, shelter, protection, food and WASH. We will strive to maintain our current level of support and urge other donors to keep supporting the people of Ukraine.
We are particularly concerned by the rising number of people who have been killed or injured by landmines, including of improvised nature, and by explosive remnants of war. Over the first half of 2017, mine-related incidents have caused 15% of the civilian casualties of the conflict in Ukraine. Humanitarian mine action is therefore another focus of German humanitarian assistance in Ukraine.
The indiscriminate shelling of critical civilian infrastructure along the contact line, such as pumping stations and power relay stations, causes periodic water cuts that affect millions of people in the region. Critical health and education facilities have also been damaged, which has caused additional hardships for the people in the conflict zone. These attacks must stop immediately.
It remains necessary to call on the de facto-authorities to allow full humanitarian access to the non-government-controlled areas in Donetsk and Luhansk. We will also continue our efforts on a political level to obtain greater humanitarian access.
Germany supports a peaceful solution to the crisis through its work in the Normandy format. Germany also supports the Economic Working Group under the Trilateral Contact Group which also deals with matters directly affecting civilians on the ground such as infrastructure, water and electricity.
Finally, Germany commends both the government and the people of Ukraine for their compassionate response to the plight of the large number of IDPs in the country. We hope that the process of IDP registration in Ukraine can be simplified even further so that less mobile elderly people and other vulnerable groups can benefit from the associated social benefits.
The people of Ukraine can count on Germany’s continued support.