Approach Paper – WHS Theme 3: Transformation through Innovation

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The United Nations Secretary-General will convene a global humanitarian summit in May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey, with the goal of finding new ways to better meet humanitarian needs in a fast changing world.

This initiative comes at a critical time. The world is facing humanitarian needs on an unprecedented scale. The number of people requiring international humanitarian assistance and the cost of helping them has increased significantly over the last decade. Humanitarian actors are being asked to respond to needs on a far greater scale than in previous years. At the same time, many ways of working no longer reflect current social, political and economic realities. Shifts in power and influence and global trends like climate change, population growth and urbanization must be taken into account. New actors must be involved in decision-making, new partnerships must be leveraged, and new approaches must be factored in. With humanitarian needs on the rise, the moment has come for a collective dialogue on the agenda for the future of humanitarian action. Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option. Rather, what is needed is to ensure that humanitarian actors have the capability and capacity to adapt to and address these future challenges, and to improve outcomes for affected communities.

Transformation through innovation is one of the four themes of the World Humanitarian Summit.
This note sets out how the thematic team plans to approach its work in the lead up to the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, providing indications of the outcomes that they will aim to deliver.