World Humanitarian Summit - Chair's Summary: Standing up for Humanity - Committing to Action (Advance Unedited Version)
23-24 May 2016
The first World Humanitarian Summit on 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul convened 9000 participants from 173 Member States, including 55 Heads of State and Government, hundreds of private sector representatives, and thousands of people from civil society and nongovernmental organizations. The United Nations in its 70 years has never come together at this scale, with this many different stakeholders, to discuss the pressing challenges that are resulting in so much suffering today. The generosity and substantive contribution of the Government and people of Turkey have been invaluable in facilitating and enabling this historic gathering.
Civil strife and conflicts are driving suffering and humanitarian need to unprecedented levels and serious violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of international human rights law continue on an alarming scale with entire populations left without essential supplies they desperately need. Natural disasters, exacerbated by the effects of climate change, are affecting greater numbers of women, men and children than ever before, eroding development gains and jeopardizing the stability of entire countries. At the same time we have been unable to generate the resources to cope with these alarming trends, and there is a need for more direct predictable humanitarian financing.
The Summit has brought to the forefront of global attention the scale of the changes required if we are to address the magnitude of challenges before us. The participants have made it emphatically clear that humanitarian assistance alone can neither adequately address nor sustainably reduce the needs of over 130 million of the world’s most vulnerable people. A new and coherent approach is required based on addressing root causes, increasing political diplomacy for prevention and conflict resolution, and bringing humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts together.
The inclusive, open, comprehensive, multi-stakeholder nature of the Summit has been essential to harness the skills, experience and resources required to respond to the magnitude of the challenges that confront us. Over the past three years, the Summit has consulted world leaders, civil society, international, national and regional organizations, NGOs, the private sector, academia, technical experts and most importantly people affected by crises. The Summit brought together the thousands of participants who responded to my Call to Action by making commitments and launching initiatives in the leaders’ segment, seven high-level roundtables, 15 special sessions, 132 side events, and two days of plenary; as well as the exhibition fair and innovation market place. Commitments made at the Summit will also have a critical role in achieving commitments made in the 202 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris (COP 21) Agreement on Climate Change, on the needs and the interest of the most vulnerable.
Over the past two days, I have been moved by the stories I have heard, and the resilience, compassion and dedication I have witnessed. I am deeply grateful to those humanitarian workers who have travelled to Istanbul to share their experience and even more so for those who have remained to continue working on the frontlines. This Summit has truly been a unique opportunity for the global community to take responsibility to place people first: to secure their safety, to uphold their dignity, and to provide opportunities for a better future. Together we have taken steps to awaken the global conscience. We have given a glimmer of hope to millions of people suffering that they are not alone, that we stand in solidarity with them. Now our task is to ransform that solidarity into action.
I am humbled and heartened by the support that has been generated toward the vision I laid out in my report One Humanity: Shared Responsibility and its Annex, the Agenda for Humanity.
I am encouraged by how many participants have embraced the five core responsibilities and committed to use them as a framework to improve our collective response to humanity. As we leave Istanbul, we know that the World Humanitarian Summit is only the beginning and not the end of a journey.