United Nations: India and Sweden have stressed the need for closer cooperation among the UN member states on providing humanitarian aid in crises situations, saying sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation must be fully respected in providing relief assistance.
"The several ongoing humanitarian crises in different parts of world reflect the need for closer coordination and cooperation between member states on humanitarian assistance," they said in a joint statement at a UNGA session yesterday.
"We believe there is a significant need for broad and inclusive partnerships to meet these challenges, and to strengthen the coordination of UN humanitarian assistance."
India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Bhagwant Bishnoi said India and Sweden reaffirm that humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law provide the basis for humanitarian assistance.
"We are committed to preserving respect for, and adherence to, the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence...We also strongly emphasize another guiding principle that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States must be fully respected," he said.
The humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country and in principle on the basis of an appeal by the affected country, Bishnoi said, adding the primary role and responsibility of providing protection and humanitarian aid lies with the affected state.
"In today's world, an increasing number of people around the globe in need of humanitarian assistance, often in complex and/or protracted situations. We remain confident that collectively we will be able to effectively contribute to addressing these challenges through enhanced cooperation and by fostering broad consensus among Member States on the promotion of effective and inclusive humanitarian action," he said.
Bishnoi said an example highlighting the centrality of partnerships in humanitarian action is the efforts required for tackling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
"The Ebola outbreak is a multifaceted crisis with a humanitarian dimension, which has demonstrated the importance of increased international, regional, national and cross-sectoral collaboration to deliver a coherent and effective response," he said.
India and Sweden are among the top four financial contributors to the Ebola Trust Fund set up by the UN.
Despite its own resource constraints, Bishnoi said India had contributed USD 500,000 each to St Vincent and Grenadines and St Lucia and USD 300,000 to Commonwealth of Dominica for providing disaster relief assistance in the aftermath of the flash floods that had stuck these islands last year.
Bishnoi said the UN and its international partners should strive to make better use of its local partners, whose role should be expanded from merely implementation to participation in strategic planning.