New York

30 September 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at World Humanitarian Summit Side Event

I thank His Excellency, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the Government of Turkey for their compassionate leadership by hosting the World Humanitarian Summit next May in Istanbul.

In hosting so many refugees from the crisis [in Syria] – more than two million people - Turkey has demonstrated admirable commitment to humanitarian action.

I know that preparations for the Summit are well under way, and I count on it being the success the world needs.

Just last Friday, world leaders made a historic commitment to shared prosperity, peace and partnership on a healthy planet.

They promised to leave no one behind.

But we cannot achieve a world of safety and dignity for all without addressing the plight of millions of women, children and men affected by humanitarian crises.

This is why I am convening the World Humanitarian Summit next year.

The Summit is a vital opportunity to reinforce our common endeavour to save lives, and prevent and alleviate suffering.

It will build on the progress achieved on disaster risk reduction in Sendai, on development financing in Addis Ababa, on sustainable development here in New York, and on the agreement on climate change that Member States are striving to adopt in Paris in December.

Around the world, thousands of men and women dedicate themselves to helping communities facing perilous circumstances.

Despite these efforts, each year we see the number of people in need continue to escalate.

The scale and cost of meeting humanitarian needs is increasingly overwhelming our capacity to respond.

The future will be even worse if we do not take decisive, collective action now.

As I speak, more than 60 million people around the world have been forced to abandon their homes due to violence and persecution.

That is more than at any time since the Second World War.

Half of them are children.

Armed conflict is by far the greatest driver of humanitarian need.

The absence of political solutions leads to protracted crises and more displacement.

As populations rise, along with extreme poverty, growing inequality and rapid unplanned urbanization, natural hazards are a growing risk.

Climate change is also causing increasing humanitarian stress.

It threatens to cause massive internal displacement and cross-border movement in the coming decades.

The absolute number of people at risk continues to grow.  We must reverse this trend.

Let us never forget that behind each statistic is a human life: a woman, a man, a child, with aspirations and human rights.

Each deserves protection.

Each has a right to a life of dignity.

Since I announced the World Humanitarian Summit in September 2013, a truly global consultation process has taken place involving 23,000 people in 151 countries.

People are calling for a transformation in how we deliver for our fellow human beings in need.

The Synthesis Report of the consultations proposes five major action areas to shape the Summit: dignity; safety; resilience; partnerships and finance.

To restore dignity, humanitarian action must always put people at its heart and empower people affected by crises to help themselves. 

To protect people in crises, we must put their safety first.

To build resilience, we must invest in preparedness.  We must manage risk, reduce vulnerability and ensure that preparedness is part of development policy and design from the outset.

And to reach all who need life-saving assistance, we must ensure unfettered humanitarian access and universal respect for humanitarian principles and actors.

We must also find new ways to raise resources.

In May this year, I established a High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing to identify ways to close the gap between rising needs and the resources available to meet them.

The Panel is expected to submit its recommendations to me in November this year.

These recommendations will help frame the discussion at the World Humanitarian Summit.

Finally, we must build partnerships that reflect our shared strengths and responsibilities.

Only by working together can we address growing humanitarian needs.

Next month, the Global Consultation in Geneva will provide a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to rally around these five building blocks and carry forward bold initiatives to Istanbul.

Later, I will issue my report on the World Humanitarian Summit.

It will convey our global vision for humanitarian action.

I count on the support and active participation of Heads of State and Government in Istanbul next May.

Let us act with collective humanity to lift people in crisis from fear and helplessness.

Let us deliver hope for a better future.

Thank you very much.