Istanbul, Turkey

23 May 2016

The Secretary-General’s Remarks to the High-Level Leaders’ Roundtable “Political Leadership to Prevent and End Conflict” at the World Humanitarian Summit [as prepared]

Millions of people all over the world are trapped in the terror of violent conflict.

They rely on world leaders here today to reaffirm and renew our commitment to humanity.

Violent conflict drives 80 per cent of humanitarian funding requests by the United Nations and our partners. It is the one overriding reason why these funding requests have increased by 600 per cent over the past 11 years, and now stand at more than $20 billion.

Preventing and peacefully resolving conflict is the biggest difference we can make to reduce overwhelming humanitarian needs around the world.

It is the first priority of the United Nations and the first line of our Charter: “We, the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…”

Today, I call on world leaders to recommit to that promise and to reaffirm our common humanity.

We all know that this is not an easy task. It will take political will of a scale and scope that we have not seen in recent years.

But we cannot allow despair and cynicism to rule the day. We must show that there is a better way; that the world can come together to support basic human rights and human dignity.

The world needs you to act.

This complex issue must be broken down into steps towards a safer and more stable world.

To prevent conflict, leaders must act immediately on the first warning signs of crisis.

To resolve conflict, we must sustain our engagement and persevere, for as long as it takes to find a collective solution.

And to build peace, we need increased investment in fragile countries.

I urge you to make ambitious commitments on all these issues.

For our part, the United Nations commits to improve our analysis of risk factors and drivers of conflict and to sound the alarm for immediate preventive action.

We will review the capacities of our agencies, funds and programmes to enable a coherent and integrated approach to the root causes of violent conflict.
We also commit to increasing support for national and local systems for conflict prevention and resolution. 

Today must be a turning point to halt and reverse the proliferation of conflicts in our world.

Thank you.