"I call on all member states to step up their financial support for United Nations relief operations, and to help address the severe economic crisis in the country," Guterres said on the second anniversary of the Stockholm Agreement between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels.
Noting that the Stockholm Agreement is a diplomatic breakthrough that offered a glimmer of hope that an end to the devastating conflict in Yemen was at hand, the UN chief said that "far more needs to be done" to achieve that common goal -- and the profound suffering of the Yemeni people has persisted.
He said that the agreement helped to avert a catastrophic military escalation at the time, thereby safeguarding the continued although limited functioning of the Red Sea ports and the entry of commercial goods and key humanitarian assistance, on which millions of Yemenis depend to survive.
"The preservation of this lifeline is even more vital now as pockets of famine-like conditions have returned in Yemen and millions are facing severe, growing food insecurity, in particular against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic," Guterres stressed, adding that it is crucial to avoid any action that could exacerbate the dire situation in Yemen.
"Only through dialogue will the Yemeni parties be able to agree on a nationwide ceasefire, economic and humanitarian confidence-building measures to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, as well as the resumption of an inclusive political process to reach a comprehensive negotiated settlement to end the conflict," the UN Secretary-General concluded.
Currently, more than half of Yemen's population of 30 million risks falling into worsening levels of hunger by mid-2021, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).