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23 May 2016

Secretary-General, at Round Table, Commits to Making Humanitarian Action ‘Local as Possible, International as Necessary’

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the high-level round table on humanitarian financing at the World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul today:

Over the past decade, the gap between humanitarian needs and the funds available to meet them has grown to unprecedented levels.  This is not because the world cannot afford to help people in need; estimates put the total sum requested for humanitarian aid at about 1 per cent of global military spending.  Nor is it because people do not want to help each other; those who have the least often give the most.  Some of the poorest countries in the world are hosting the highest numbers of refugees.

No.  The challenge is directed at us, the leaders, the decision makers, the professionals.  It is a question of our priorities, our accounting and our funding systems.  That is why I established the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing last year, to find out how the international community can deliver for the most vulnerable.

Their report was a clarion call for a change of direction.  The Panel found that significant improvements are needed in how we mobilize, allocate and use resources.  The Grand Bargain that will be launched later today is one result.

We also need better risk management and a new approach to protracted crises.  Humanitarian and development organizations must work towards the same goals, with the same priorities:  risk management, preparedness and resilience.  Traditional and new donors must build broad partnerships with the communities and Governments that are on the front lines of humanitarian action.  Above all, we need your commitment and action.

For our part, the United Nations commits to making humanitarian action as local as possible and as international as necessary.  We commit to improving our engagement with local and national partners.

I urge everyone here today to consider your priorities as we work together to reduce and end humanitarian needs around the world.

For information media. Not an official record.