UN and Saudi Arabia to hold virtual fundraiser for Yemen

Today, in an effort to address Yemen’s worsening economic, political and humanitarian conflict, the UN and Saudi Arabia will hold

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Today, in an effort to address Yemen’s worsening economic, political and humanitarian conflict, the UN and Saudi Arabia will hold a fundraising event.

After more than five years of fighting between Saudi-backed government forces and the Iran-backed Houthis, the conflict in Yemen has only worsened. With 80% of the country’s population in need of aid and security, new challenges—namely, COVID-19, the drop of oil prices and the emergence of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC) as a new local rival—have put Yemen in an even more vulnerable position.

Meanwhile, the UN, which assists a third of Yemen’s population, has received less than 15% of the funding necessary to continue its humanitarian operations in 2020. With the COVID-19-caused global recession in sight and Washington’s ‘America First’ pivot, chances are slim that the fundraising event will yield the desired $2.4 billion. Saudi Arabia, which gave $1.25 billion to Yemen aid in 2019, is expected to be the largest donor, although it is unlikely to match its contribution from last year.

Even with generous donations, expect that Yemen’s humanitarian disaster will continue in the absence of a permanent political solution, for which a three-way ceasefire between Saudi, Houthi and STC forces is a prerequisite.

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