Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the 2021 High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Washington, DC

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you so much, Secretary-General Guterres.  Foreign Minister Cassis, Foreign Minister Linde, Under-Secretary-General Lowcock, everyone in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for bringing us together today.

The humanitarian crisis taking place in Yemen is the largest and most urgent in the world.  Twenty million people, including millions of children, desperately need help.  The United States is committed to doing our part, both to provide aid and to help address the obstacles standing in the way of humanitarian access.

Today, I’m pleased to announce nearly $191 million in additional humanitarian assistance from the United States, bringing our Fiscal Year 2021 funding up to more than $350 million.  In total, the United States has provided more than $3.4 billion in aid to the Yemeni people since the crisis began six years ago.

This funding supports our partners in delivering assistance that is needed immediately, including food, protection, education, shelter, health, water, sanitation, and the prevention and treatment of severe malnutrition.  It also goes to longer-term humanitarian need, like the rehabilitation of water systems, the repair of critical roads, and support to help families earn incomes.

I commend the generous pledges made by other donors.  Now, we need others – especially those in the region – to step up.  The scale of this emergency can be addressed only through a sustained and coordinated effort by a broad range of donors, UN agencies, and NGOs.  And we must act fast, because the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic are making the humanitarian crisis even worse.

I want to recognize the courageous aid workers who are risking their lives to help bring to those – to help bring assistance to those who need it.  All parties across northern and southern Yemen must cease interference in aid operations and allow assistance to reach the innocent women, children, and men who have borne the brunt of this crisis.

We also call on all parties to allow the unhindered import and distribution of fuel.  Fuel shortages like the one happening now only worsen the humanitarian situation.

Of course, while aid can help lessen suffering and mitigate the desperation that often fuels conflicts, aid alone will not end the conflict.  We can only end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen by ending the war in Yemen.  And so the United States is reinvigorating our diplomatic efforts to end the war.

We’ve listened to the concerns from the United Nations, from humanitarian groups, and members of Congress, and we are committed to putting the well-being of the Yemeni people at the forefront of our policy while continuing to put pressure on the leaders of Ansarallah, also known as the Houthis.  We call on the Houthis to cease their cross-border attacks and military offensives that prolong this war.  We support the UN-led process and UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in their efforts to establish a ceasefire, increase humanitarian access, and resume peace talks.  And we call on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and cease attacks on civilians.

As you may know, I recently appointed a U.S. special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking.  He reports that the Saudis and the Republic of Yemen Government are committed and eager to find a solution to the conflict.  We call on the Houthis to match this commitment.  A necessary first step is to stop their offensive against Marib, a city where a million internally displaced people live, and to join the Saudis and the government in Yemen in making constructive moves toward peace.

Let me conclude by reiterating that we support the UN-led process to establish a ceasefire.  We’re committed to increasing humanitarian access.  We insist that violations against civilians cease.  And we are hopeful for the speedy resumption of peace talks aimed at finally bringing an end to this conflict.  The time is now to make this push and bring about a more stable, prosperous Yemen whose citizens will be able to rebuild their lives and – at long last – have hope in a better future.

Thank you.

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    In Crime News
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    In Crime News
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    In U.S GAO News
    Based on GAO analysis of stakeholder views, five cross-cutting challenges affect the U.S. recycling system: (1) contamination of recyclables; (2) low collection of recyclables; (3) limited market demand for recyclables; (4) low profitability for operating recycling programs; and (5) limited information to support decision-making about recycling. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) most recent data show that less than a quarter of the waste generated in the United States is collected for recycling (69 million of 292 million tons) and is potentially available, along with new materials, to make new products (see fig.). Estimated Generation and Disposition of Waste in the United States, as of 2018 EPA, the Departments of Commerce (Commerce) and Energy, and the Federal Trade Commission have taken actions that advance recycling, such as collecting data and awarding grants for research on recycling technologies. However, EPA has not conducted studies or developed recommendations for administrative or legislative action on the effect of existing public policies on recycling, as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires. Conducting these studies would provide Congress with information to better evaluate the effect of different policies on U.S. recycling efforts. In addition, Commerce is not fully meeting its RCRA requirement to stimulate the development of markets for recycled materials because it has not taken actions to stimulate domestic markets, as GAO recommended in 2006. Commerce officials stated that their work to stimulate international markets fulfills Commerce's obligations under RCRA. Congress may need to act to clarify Commerce's responsibilities under RCRA or assign responsibility for stimulating domestic markets to another agency. By taking action, Congress can ensure a federal response to the reduction in international demand for U.S. recyclables. EPA has taken several actions to plan and coordinate national efforts to advance recycling, such as releasing a draft national recycling strategy in October 2020. However, EPA has not incorporated some desirable characteristics for effective national strategies, identified in prior GAO work. By better incorporating such characteristics as it finalizes and implements its draft strategy, EPA will have greater assurance of the strategy's usefulness in making resource and policy decisions and will better ensure accountability for its implementation. In 1976, Congress sought to reduce solid waste and encourage recycling as part of RCRA, which gave primary responsibility for recycling to states and municipalities but requires EPA and Commerce to take specific actions. The United States generated almost 1,800 pounds of waste per capita in 2018. Recycling rates for common recyclables, such as paper, plastics, glass, and some metals, remain low. Furthermore, recent international import restrictions have reduced demand for U.S. exports of recyclables. GAO was asked to review federal efforts that advance recycling in the United States. This report examines (1) cross-cutting challenges affecting recycling in the United States, (2) actions that selected federal agencies have taken that advance recycling, and (3) actions EPA has taken to plan and coordinate national efforts to advance recycling. GAO reviewed laws and agency documents; and interviewed federal officials and nonfederal stakeholders, such as states, municipalities, and industry representatives, selected for their expertise and efforts to advance recycling. GAO is making one matter for congressional consideration to clarify a RCRA requirement for Commerce or to assign responsibility for stimulating domestic markets to another agency; and three recommendations to EPA, including that it take actions to fulfill certain RCRA requirements. EPA concurred with GAO's recommendations. For more information, contact J. Alfredo Gómez at (202) 512-3841 or gomezj@gao.gov.
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