For 2019, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs allocated a total budget of EUR 53.94 million for humaniarian intervention, including contributions for humanitarian issued from the mutilateral budget line and from the development cooperation fund. The year was dominated by the response to humanitarian crises, particularly in Syria and Yemen, but also in the Sahel and the Lake Chad regions, Mozambique and Bangladesh. For all these humanitarian crises, the government made substantial funding available to support the humanitarian operations of UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and to carry out emergency projects run by Luxembourgish NGOs. A total of EUR 53.94 million has been disbursed to support such humanitarian interventions in various countries and in the three phases of humanitarian crises as defined in Luxembourg’s humanitarian action strategy: emergency, transition and prevention.
A total of EUR 53.94 million has been disbursed to support such humanitarian interventions in various countries and in the three phases of humanitarian crises as defined in Luxembourg’s humanitarian action strategy: emergency, transition and prevention.
Luxembourg continued to honour the four-year strategic partnership agreements concluded in 2017 with the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In addition to the annual financial support, the agreements with the WFP, UNHCR and OCHA also provide for the possibility of deployment of the emergency.lu platform and the development of solutions in the field of information and communication technologies, thus contributing in an innovative way to the effectiveness of the coordination of emergency efforts on the ground.
In May 2019, Luxembourg submitted its second report on the implementation of the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit held in May 2016. Luxembourg had subscribed to all the fundamental commitments on the basis of the ‘Agenda for humanity’ and had made 45 national commitments. Luxembourg has thus continued to follow the ‘Grand Bargain’ initiative, an agreement between implementing agencies and donors aimed at making humanitarian aid more effective, partly by making it more predictable. As in previous years, the Luxembourg government has provided an annual contribution to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which allows the UN to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the world’s crisis-affected people as quickly as possible. Support for the country-based pooled funds enables Luxembourg to honour its commitment to supporting the localisation of humanitarian assistance and to having reliable funding mechanisms available in order to reach those most in need. In 2019, new support for the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund was put in place, bringing the number of funds supported by Luxembourg to nine.
In 2019, Luxembourg was a member of the executive board of the World Food Programme (WFP) and actively participated in that body’s three sessions (in February, June and November). During this period particular attention was paid to the areas for priority cooperation with the WFP, namely the Sahel (adoption of the 2020-2024 WFP country strategic plans for Mali and Niger), as well as new technologies and innovation.
In this context, worthy of note are the working visit carried out by Minister Lenert in February 2019 to the WFP’s Innovation Accelerator in Munich and the visit to Luxembourg by the WFP Executive Cabinet Head in the framework of the ‘Let’s Net’ training provided by Luxembourg to humanitarian workers under the UN framework.
Furthermore, during its membership of the executive board, Luxembourg co-organised and chaired three events held during the sessions in Rome, namely a debate on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action, a session with Executive Director David Beasley on inter-cluster collaboration and, finally, a round table on the responsibility of the humanitarian and private sectors in the ethical processing of data in the digital age.
Internally, as part of the update to Luxembourg’s humanitarian action strategy, the humanitarian affairs department conducted a self-assessment based on the fundamental humanitarian standards of quality and accountability, under the aegis of the Core Humanitarian Standard Alliance, and joined the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) in December 2019.
In addition, Luxembourg participated in the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent held in Geneva from 9 to 12 December 2019, which brought together the components of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent as well as representatives of the States parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols thereto, to discuss key humanitarian issues, including respect for and the strengthening of international humanitarian law and the challenges faced in the digital age. The core objective of the 33rd International Conference in 2019 was to improve the lives of people affected by armed conflict, disasters and other emergencies, and in this connection eight resolutions were adopted by consensus on the final day. On the sidelines of the international conference, Luxembourg chaired the parallel event entitled ‘Regulation, Ethics and Accountability in Data Partnerships for Humanitarian Aid’ organised by the ICRC and the IFRC.
The Global Refugee Forum, held in December 2019 in Geneva under the auspices of UNHCR, was the beginning of a process to implement the Global Compact on Refugees, adopted under resolution 73/151 in 2018. The forum provided an opportunity to develop and strengthen arrangements for the implementation of the Global Compact in the long term. Luxembourg highlighted its financial support for UNHCR and pledged to continue supporting innovation and resilient solutions for refugees in the area where development and humanitarian aid overlap.
As a signatory to the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, Luxembourg had supported the development of the guidelines, an exercise headed by the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). The publication of these guidelines in 2019 marked an important step in promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action.