Tag Archives: World Humanitarian Summit

WHS: Humanitarian summit has ‘set new course,’ says Ban, calling for action on commitments

The first World Humanitarian Summit

24 May 2016 – Hailing the global community’s achievements at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for commitments made to be taken forward for transformative change from the top down and from the ground up.

“The World Humanitarian Summit has been a unique event, in form as well as substance,” Mr. Ban said in Istanbul, Turkey, speaking to reporters on the second and last day of the Summit, dedicated to improving the humanitarian system and alleviating the suffering of millions.

“We have the wealth, knowledge and awareness to take better care of one another. But we need action, based on the five core responsibilities of the Agenda for Humanity,” he stressed, referring to the principles that guided the hundreds of events organized at the two-day conference.

In total, the Summit brought together 173 Member States, 55 Heads of State and Governments, some 350 private sector representatives, and over 2000 people from civil society and non-governmental organizations. Together, some 1,500 commitments were made, including:

Yet, the Secretary-General also expressed disappointment that some world leaders could not be in Istanbul, especially from the G7 countries, except Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

“They are some of the most generous donors of funding for humanitarian action, but I urge their greater engagement, particularly in the search for political solutions,” he stressed, noting that “aligning the interests of such a diverse constellation of actors is inherently challenging.”

The UN chief said divisions between the members of the Security Council have prevented progress in recent years, not only on critical issues of war and peace, but on humanitarian affairs.

“That is why I make a special appeal to leaders of the nations that are permanent Members of that Council to take important steps at the highest level. Their absence from this meeting does not provide an excuse for inaction,” he said.

Speaking at the closing ceremony with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr. Ban further highlighted that the Summit is not an end point, but a turning point.

“In September, I will report to the United Nations General Assembly on the Summit’s achievements,” he noted. “I will propose ways to take our commitments forward through intergovernmental processes, inter-agency forums and other mechanisms.”

New charter for persons with disabilities endorsed at UN humanitarian summit

SG with people with disabilities on World Humanitarian Summit24 May 2016 – A new charter to significantly improve living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies has been endorsed at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

“The intersection between humanitarian crises and persons with disabilities is very strong,” Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, told the UN News Centre on the margins of a special session at the Summit on ensuring disability-inclusive humanitarian action.

“Persons with disabilities are always left behind and the humanitarian response is very complicated because there is no planning to address their needs. We see that constantly – in armed conflict situations, and natural disasters,” she explained.

The Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action urges government representatives as well as leaders of non-governmental organizations and funding bodies to ensure that their future humanitarian actions will be inclusive of people with disabilities, based on five principals:

  • non-discrimination and recognition of the diversity of people with disabilities;
  • involvement of people with disabilities in developing humanitarian programs;
  • ensuring services and humanitarian assistance are equally available for and accessible to all people with disabilities;
  • implementation of inclusive global policies; and
  • cooperation and coordination among humanitarian actors to improve inclusion of people with disabilities.

“For me, it was absolutely critical that I was [at the special session], because it reminded me of my responsibility as a citizen, and also as the Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to really put people with disabilities much closer to the center of everything we do. We must leave no one behind, and we must be inclusive,” said UN Special Advisor David Nabarro.

He noted that the endorsement of the charter shows there is “real commitment” to working to ensure that people with disabilities are much closer to the center of humanitarian action.

Speaking with the UN News Centre through an interpreter, Colin Allen, who will be the next chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), highlighted that the charter will help address the specific needs of many people, such as those who are deaf, blind, or both.

First-ever World Humanitarian Summit must usher in new era of global solidarity – UN chief

Before the first ever Humanitarian Summit4 April 2016 – Briefing Member States on preparations for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Heads of State and Government to come to the event and deliver a strong message that “we will not accept the erosion of humanity which we see in the world today.”

“We must not fail the people who need us, when they need us most,” said the UN chief, drawing particular attention to the leader’s segment and the roundtables, that will take place during the 23-24 May summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

“First, the best way to achieve bold, courageous change is to make sure that leaders are there to deliver it,” Mr. Ban said, noting that the leaders’ segment will be an opportunity to discuss the five core responsibilities of his Agenda for Humanity.

The five core aims are: political leadership to prevent and end conflict; uphold the norms that safeguard humanity; leave no one behind; change people’s lives – from delivering aid to ending need; and invest in humanity.

“History will judge us by how we use this moment,” Mr. Ban said, urging States to come to Istanbul at the highest level and to show leadership on the great challenges of the 21st century.

“We must not let down the many millions of men, women and children in dire need,” he added.

Mr. Ban said that seven roundtable sessions will be held over the two days to provide a space for leaders from Member States, civil society and the private sector to focus on a number of challenges crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other shared goals.

The themes of the roundtables are: Preventing and Ending Conflict; Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity; Leaving No-one Behind; Natural Disasters and Climate Change; From Delivering Aid to Ending Need; Gender Equality; and Investing in Humanity.

He said that proposed core commitments that reflect some of the changes necessary to turn the Agenda for Humanity into action were circulated last week for consideration and should be finalized by 18 April.

These are voluntary and non-binding, and can be individual or joint commitments. The Summit is not an end point, but the beginning of a new era of international solidarity to halt the terrible suffering of people affected by conflicts and disasters. The Summit’s success would make an enormous qualitative difference in advancing action on so many other fronts – not least the 2030 Agenda.

The summit outcomes will include a Chair’s summary that will be issued in Istanbul, and a “Commitments to Action” document that will follow some time later. Along with the Agenda for Humanity, these all constitute important elements to the framework for action and follow-up, he said.

Post-Summit follow-up

The follow-up will begin with the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council in June. In September, Mr. Ban will submit his report to the General Assembly, presenting the outcomes of the Summit and further possible steps ahead, he said.

At that point, Member States can decide to take forward some or all of the report’s recommendations through intergovernmental discussions and negotiations, he said. The annual General Assembly humanitarian resolutions in the autumn will likely be vehicles for many of these important discussions.

“Last year we achieved major victories for global solidarity,” he said, referring to Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Let us make the World Humanitarian Summit a historic step forward for our common humanity,” he said.

The briefing was organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the UN Headquarters in New York.