UN to convene first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in 2016

As part of the humanitarian response, every day, contractors truck nearly four million litres of water to Za'atari camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan. Photo: IRIN/Heba Aly

26 September 2013 – The first World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2016, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today, as he appealed to Member States to support this effort to better assist some 100 million people in need each year.

“We need to share best practices and find innovative ways to make humanitarian action more effective and inclusive,” Mr. Ban told an event on the Summit that was held on the margins of the annual high-level debate of the General Assembly.

“The only way to meet future needs is through effective and innovative partnerships with Governments, non-governmental organizations, local communities, and new partners like the private sector and philanthropy.”

Last year, 28.8 million people were displaced by conflict and violence. Population growth, increasing poverty and climate change will only make populations more vulnerable to humanitarian crises.

Mr. Ban said the Summit will have four themes: humanitarian effectiveness, reducing vulnerability and managing risk, transformation through innovation, and serving the needs of people in conflict.

Preparations for the Summit will begin early next year with regional consultations, giving countries the opportunity to discuss and refine the themes over the next two years. The consultations will be facilitated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), led by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.

Mr. Ban appealed for the support not just of governments but also organizations across the humanitarian system, stressing the importance of their work during times of conflict and disasters.

“We count on the commitment of governments and all our partners to host consultations and to ensure that participation is as broad-based as possible,” he said.

Mr. Ban stressed that focus should not shift away from current crises such as the ones in Pakistan and the Central African Republic. He also announced that he would convene a second pledging conference for Syria in January. “I urge you to support this conference and consider all existing appeals for the many pressing crises around the world.”

Ms. Amos thanked Member States for their readiness to engage in consultations leading up to the Summit. “It is clear from the statements of support that we have received today that there is a need to bring the humanitarian community together to work to find ways in which we can ensure that the voices of those most in need are heard,” she added.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN Central Emergency Relief Fund releases $50 million to assist Syrians

Related Stories





In-depth Interviews