Follow-up meeting to the Conference for the Civilian Population in Gaza (6 December 2023)


Today, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna chaired via videoconference a follow-up meeting to the Conference for the Civilian Population in Gaza that was held by President Macron on November 9, 2023. At this meeting, the Minister brought together representatives from over 50 countries, the European Union, the African Union, the GCC, the Arab League, the United Nations – in particular, Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator – as well as from the ICRC, the Palestine Red Crescent Society, and NGOs.

This meeting aimed to take stock of progress made on the implementation of the financial commitments made on November 9; bolster coordination among donors, countries, UN agencies, and NGOs; and identify operational solutions to facilitate the continuous conveyance and delivery of aid in sufficient quantities throughout the Gaza Strip. As the civilian population in Gaza faces epidemic and famine risks, in addition to a lack of access to medical care and the consequences of their displacement, the extreme gravity of the situation means that access to water, fuel, medication, food, and basic goods must be ensured. In order to do so, certain restrictions must be lifted. It is necessary to open new crossing points. It is likewise essential that the required aid inspection procedures not delay its delivery.

The Minister, in agreement with all the participants, recalled that all parties must comply with international law and, in particular, international humanitarian law. This requires that the civilian population, civilian infrastructure, health facilities, and humanitarian workers be protected and it means, in particular, that there must be unhindered access to humanitarian aid and sufficient supplies for the population’s essential needs. The Minister reiterated France’s call for a new, immediate, and durable humanitarian truce, which must lead to a lasting ceasefire. This is an indispensable condition for delivering additional humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza, as well as for re-establishing a political horizon.

Faced with the gravity of the humanitarian crisis that is hitting Gaza, France is taking action. The conference that France held on November 9 made it possible for the international community to strengthen its commitment to Gaza and allowed for €1 billion in pledged donations to be raised. At this conference, President Macron announced that France would increase its 2023 humanitarian aid total to €100 million.

France has, in particular, mobilized its efforts to provide medical support to the people of Gaza. France was the first Western nation to treat Gazan civilians. Treatment is also being provided to those who were injured on the Dixmude, a French helicopter carrier offering medical services that arrived in Egypt on November 27. An additional €2 million will be allocated to the WHO in Gaza. Pending the approval of the Egyptian authorities, France is also prepared to treat Gazan children at its hospitals.

The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs announced a new sea shipment of 600 tons of food aid, thanks to the joint efforts of France, the CMA CGM Foundation, the WFP and Nutriset. This shipment comes in addition to the 200 tons of aid that has already been delivered to help the civilian population in Gaza.