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European Union Foreign Affairs Council - Dinner address to Development Cooperation Ministers by Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

11 February 2024

High Representative Josep Borrell,

Minister Gennez,

Commissioner Urpilainen

Distinguished Ministers and colleagues,

I am grateful to Belgium for this invitation.

We are at a moment of extraordinary crisis – a challenging context, where human rights need to be central to finding a way out.

The world has rarely experienced so sharp a rise in so many different threats to life and rights. Some 55 conflicts are battering civilians, communities and economies, characterized by widespread and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as massive displacement — across the Middle East; the Sahel, Eastern and Central Africa; Ukraine; Myanmar; and elsewhere.

Development gains are being obliterated. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is steeped in human rights, is swerving way off-track. Global poverty has risen for the first time in more than two decades. By 2030, almost 600 million people are projected to face chronic undernourishment, and 84 million children will be out of school.

Climate and environmental threats are accelerating, while humanitarian needs are exploding. Since the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund was created in 2006, funding needs have increased tenfold – from $5.2 billion in 2006, to assist 32 million people, to nearly $57 billion in 2023, to help 245 million people in need.

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