The high-level side event at the United Nations General Assembly Week, co-hosted by the Netherlands, the United States and Germany, honoured the joint effort with the UN to prevent a looming environmental disaster with severe humanitarian and economic costs. To prevent this catastrophe the UN has coordinated – in close consultation with Yemeni parties – an operational plan. The estimated budget for the two-track plan is $113 million, of which $75 million is required to start the first phase of the operation (emergency operation). Since the pledging conference in May 2022 – jointly organized by the Government of the Netherlands and the United Nations – many donors have pledged generously. At today’s event, we reached an important milestone as we have closed the funding gap for the emergency operation. The co-hosts are the biggest donors backing the UN-led plan, with 15 Mio EUR from the Netherlands, 12 Mio EUR from Germany and 10 Mio USD from the USA, followed by Saudi-Arabia (10 Mio USD) and the United Kingdom (7.5 million US dollars). The Co-Hosts will continue their outreach to mobilise the funding needed to finalise the operation.
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liesje Schreinemacher, of the Netherlands:
Normally, as minister, it is my job to deal with the repercussions of disasters. But in this instance, we have a chance to prevent a disaster. The Safer is a ticking timebomb. We need swift action. It is encouraging that so many countries have pledged their financial support. Thanks in part to the Netherlands’ contribution we now have the necessary funds to start salvaging the vessel.
U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking:
We are proud that the United States pledged $10 million for the UN Safer project. Our contribution stands alongside contributions from a range of countries, organizations, and individuals across the globe, representing a broad coalition of partners that understands the importance of preventing an economic and environmental catastrophe from the Safer tanker.
Deike Potzel, Director General for Crisis Prevention, Stabilisation, Peace Building and Humanitarian Assistance of the German Federal Foreign Office:
Thanks to our continued joint efforts, we have a rare opportunity here, to tell a story not often told: the story of how we prevented a catastrophe! With its contribution of 12 million, Germany significantly contributes to this accomplishment. If all parties to the conflict stick to the agreement made to rescue the FSO Safer and the operation is successful, the FSO Safer can go from being a symbol of impending disaster to a beacon of hope for Yemen.
Thanks to the mobilization and financial support of donor countries from the region and from all over the world, the operation is expected to start soon. It is now crucial that the donors swiftly disburse their contributions in order to allow UNDP, the UN organization coordinating the implementation, to sign all necessary contracts.
In New York, the UN gave insights into the operational plan: first transferring the oil into a safe vessel (Phase I), before installing a permanent storage solution and scrapping the Safer (Phase II). Phase II requires additional 38 Mio USD, additional pledges in particular from the private sector are expected.