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Pacific humanitarian challenges in global spotlight ahead of World Humanitarian Summit

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Suva, Fiji, 12 February 2016

The Pacific’s humanitarian challenges have been placed front and centre of the agenda for May’s World Humanitarian Summit in a new report by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. The report, released this week, outlines the Secretary-General’s vision for humanity and identifies five core humanitarian responsibilities of the international community.

“For the Pacific, the stakes could not be higher with droughts and cyclones presenting a daily threat and the impacts of climate change already lapping at our shores. This report and the Summit in Istanbul on 23-24 May are potential game-changers in addressing the challenges facing our region,” Sune Gudnitz, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Regional Office for the Pacific said. The report acknowledges that in the world's humanitarian efforts, local people need to be empowered to use their capabilities and make their own choices so that they can thrive as agents of their own futures. The report also presses the need for proper planning to manage the frightening reality of displacement due to climate change and the increasingly frequent and intense natural disasters it is expected to fuel.

“Both of these were key messages from the World Humanitarian Summit Pacific consultations in Auckland and we are very happy to see them translated into the global agenda,” Mr Gudnitz said.

“It is encouraging to see acknowledgment of the need for greater investment in risk reduction and resilience building to help Small Island Developing States withstand the economic and social shocks caused by natural disasters. It is also pleasing to see endorsement of the kind of work that is already underway in this region to bridge the humanitarian-development divide and to empower women and girls.”

The Secretary General’s report builds on the World Humanitarian Summit consultation process, including the Pacific regional meeting in Auckland. It also incorporates priorities from a range of other reviews and frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The World Humanitarian Summit regional consultations in Auckland last July were an important step in raising the Pacific’s voice on the global stage. This important regional effort was continued at COP21 where Pacific leaders successfully joined together to influence the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is now imperative that we build on this work and carry this strong Pacific voice through to Istanbul in 2016,” Mr Gudnitz said.

To download the report: https://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/whs_sgreport

To view a message from the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, His Excellency, Enele Sopoaga, regarding the report and the World Humanitarian Summit visit: http://bit.ly/1O2ok9K

For more information on the World Humanitarian Summit: https://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/

Media Contact:
Ms Danielle Parry
Public Information Officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
Regional Office for the Pacific, Suva, Fiji.
Email: parryd@un.org Ph: +679 7771433

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.