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WHS Commitments to Action, 8 September 2016 [EN/AR]

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Summary of Key Findings

The commitments generated through the World Humanitarian Summit indicate broad-based support for the Agenda for Humanity and its five core responsibilities. The sheer volume - more than 3,140 individual and joint commitments collected to date - is a clear indication of a desire of all stakeholders involved in the Summit to achieve better outcomes for the millions of people who are at risk of being left behind due to conflicts and disasters.

The individual and joint commitments cover a broad range of issues comprised within the Secretary General’s report and Agenda for Humanity. However, the commitments reveal there was particular emphasis and momentum around the following key areas for future action (not in order of priority):

1. Enhance compliance and accountability to international law (Core Responsibility 2: Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity)

Many stakeholders reiterated their intent to uphold the norms that safeguard humanity, including taking concrete steps to ensure parties to armed conflict comply with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Commitments also focused on promoting adherence to core instruments, including the Arms Trade Treaty and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as well as adherence of Member States to the Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or crimes of war.

The commitments also called upon permanent members of the Security Council to refrain from exercising veto power in the face of mass atrocities. Gender-based violence prevention emerged as a key issue generating commitments to join, fund and otherwise support global initiatives to end violence against women and girls.

Additionally, multiple stakeholders reiterated their adherence to the humanitarian principles and pledged action to promote and uphold them. The ongoing relevance and prominence of the humanitarian principles were emphasized throughout the Summit deliberations.

2. Implement a new approach to forced displacement (Core Responsibility 3:
Leave No One Behind)

The Agenda for Humanity’s call to reduce and address displacement received the second highest number of individual and joint commitments related to a single shift proposed in the Agenda for Humanity. Commitments indicate a clear consensus that addressing protracted forced displacement is a humanitarian as well as a political and development priority. A large number of stakeholders committed to address the needs of displaced people and host communities alike, and several provided significant financial pledges to support host countries. There was an acknowledgement of the need to identify durable solution for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) and for greater effort to develop a new cooperation on predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing among countries of origin, transit and resettlement.

The need for access to quality education, particularly in displacement settings, was highlighted by many as an area for urgent action, with several significant commitments made to guarantee the provision of quality education for refugees and to bolster education support to refugee-hosting countries.

3. Achieve gender equality and greater inclusivity (Core Responsibility 3: Leave No One Behind)

Gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment emerged as an overarching theme of the Summit with nearly 20% of all commitments addressing gender issues. In addition to the 446 commitments made in support of the High-Level Leaders’ Roundtable on Women and Girls: Catalyzing Action to Achieve Gender Equality, a desire to see improved gender outcomes was expressed in commitments made at the other six roundtables. This strong emphasis on gender reflects a firm desire for the World Humanitarian Summit to serve as a watershed moment whereby real change is achieved so that the needs of women and girls are systematically met and how their roles as decision-makers and leaders are vigorously promoted.

Important commitments and initiatives were also made in support of core responsibility 3 to increase the inclusion and voices of marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities and young people in humanitarian action, and to better address humanitarian crises in cities and towns.

4. Reinforce, do not replace, national and local systems (Core Responsibility 4: Change People’s Lives-From Delivering Aid to Ending Need)

Reinforcing national and local systems, including ensuring accountability to affected people, garnered the most support when taking into account both individual or joint commitments and alignments to core commitments. Of the 32 core commitments, the commitment calling for a new way of working that meets people’s immediate needs, while at the same time reducing risk and vulnerability, generated the highest number of alignments (117 out of 216 stakeholders aligned to this commitment). In addition, 399 individual or joint commitments in support of reinforcing national and local systems have been cataloged to date, heralding a shift towards more national and locally-led preparedness and response efforts. There was a strong consensus on the need to invest in frontline responders, namely national and local actors. An additional 88 commitments were made under core responsibility 5 to invest in local capacities, including by increasing the amount of funding channeled to local responders.

Commitments to put people at the center of humanitarian action and to ensure their rightful place in decision-making were made by multiple actors. Scores of stakeholders pledged to support the Core Humanitarian Standard as a concrete means of furthering accountability to people affected by crises.

Commitments also demonstrated an important acknowledgement of the potential transformative power of cash-based programming with stakeholders frequently committing to scale-up cash-based assistance. Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other actors set targets; for example, Mercy Corps pledged to increase cash-based assistance by 25%.

5. Diversify the resource base and increase cost-efficiency (Core Responsibility 5: Invest in Humanity)

The World Humanitarian Summit outcomes indicate a strong desire to ensure a different way of financing that not only increases resources to meet humanitarian needs but also reduces them through a reduction in risk and vulnerability. There were numerous commitments to increase the quantity, diversity and quality of humanitarian funding, including through the mobilization of Islamic social finance and by bringing in non-traditional partners, including the private sector, and creating a more enabling environment for remittance transfers.

Multiple Member States committed to expand the Central Emergency Respond Fund (CERF) to US$ 1 billion by 2018. Scores of donors and humanitarian agencies joined forces under a multi-faceted Grand Bargain to commit to increasing the efficiency of humanitarian funding.