First UN humanitarian summit held in response to world's record need for aid

Istanbul, Turkey, where the summit took place. Cover credit: WHS Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey, where the summit took place. Cover credit: WHS Turkey

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has held a summit, the first World Humanitarian Summit, to establish a new agenda for global humanitarian action, focus on reducing vulnerability, manage risk and serve the needs of people in conflict.

The summit, the first of this kind, brought together the global humanitarian community, with participants from the development, peacebuilding and peacekeeping spheres to work toward a coherent approach in the way humanitarian aid is delivered.

World leaders posing for a photo at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit. Credit: Talk Media News

World leaders posing for a photo at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit. Credit: Talk Media News

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established last year the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing to provide recommendations to frame the summit discussions.  

“The World Humanitarian Summit has been a unique event, in form as well as substance,” Ban Ki-moon said in Istanbul, speaking to reporters on the second and last day.

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

The main principles on which the summit was based are:

  1. The Education Cannot Wait fund to help provide quality education to children and youth in crises.
  2. The need of a Grand Bargain that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of investment in emergency response.
  3. The Global Preparedness Partnership to better prepare twenty of the countries that are most at risk of crisis.
  4. The One Billion Coalition for Resilience, which aims to mobilize a billion people to build safer and more stable communities worldwide.

The summit, held May 23 and 24, was attended by 173 U.N. member states, 55 heads of state and government, some 350 private sector representatives, and over 2000 people from civil society and non-governmental organizations, amounting to around 1,500 commitments.