Video Statement by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the “Ministerial Roundtable for the Central Sahel”

20.10.2020 - Speech

Thank you, Rasmus, for giving us such a clear and honest overview of the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Yes, it is indeed serious.

And it is escalating quickly.

All indicators are dark red.

Dear colleagues,

Less than two weeks ago, the World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was a well-deserved acknowledgment of the work that the World Food Programme and the entire humanitarian system are doing to fight hunger, to protect human lives and dignity.

And yet, in the Central Sahel, more than 16 million children, women and men could be facing hunger.

60 percent of the humanitarian needs in the Sahel remain unfunded.

The Nobel Peace Prize is therefore also a call upon all of us to change this.

First, by showing our solidarity with the people and the aid workers on the ground.

This means providing additional, flexible, multi-year funding. And today, Germany pledges 100 million euros in humanitarian assistance for 2020 and the following years.

This complements our commitments towards resilience and stability. In 2019, Germany has contributed more than 400 million euros for development cooperation in the region – closely coordinated within the Sahel Alliance and the G5 countries.

Another 130 million euros were committed towards conflict resolution and peace. Our projects range from supporting security forces to engaging in civilian stabilization efforts.

This leads me to my second point: Our engagement must be comprehensive, accountable and well-coordinated.

Humanitarian aid and development funding must be better linked. And we need more investments in conflict resolution and peace building.

Therefore, it is important that today’s humanitarian conference will be followed by meetings of the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel and the Coalition for the Sahel.

Finally, we all need to re-commit to principled humanitarian action. And we must ensure that all parties to the conflict uphold their obligations under international law and protect humanitarian personnel.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you once again for joining us today. And thank you for your support – on behalf of the people in the Sahel and in the name of our shared humanity.

Thank you!


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