New York

23 May 2017

Secretary-General's statement on the first anniversary of the World Humanitarian Summit

One year ago in Istanbul, Turkey, the World Humanitarian Summit rallied the global community together behind a vision to address the increasingly urgent and complex challenges that are driving humanitarian need and vulnerability around the world. 

Today, the call to action set out in the Agenda for Humanity remains as urgent as ever.

Humanitarian crises are causing human suffering and displacement on an unprecedented scale. Brutal and violent conflicts take countless lives. Natural hazards and extreme weather compound poverty and structural inequalities, producing a vicious cycle of risk and fragility. These crises prevent us from making progress towards our shared goal of a peaceful and prosperous world for all.

Preventing human suffering is my top priority as Secretary-General. We cannot achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without redoubling our efforts to reach those left farthest behind: refugees, internally displaced people, women and girls, children and all people whose lives have been overturned by conflicts or disasters. All people should have access to humanitarian assistance and protection in their time of need, and have the opportunity to thrive in the long term.

Humanitarian assistance alone cannot sustainably reduce the needs of over 130 million of the world’s most vulnerable people. We must engage our collective strengths and mobilize new partnerships to prevent and end conflicts, reduce vulnerability to natural hazards and address the root causes of fragility. We must bring humanitarian and development actors to work together closely from the beginning of a crisis to support affected communities. Delivering the New Way of Working is a critical step to achieve this. These are some of the driving factors behind my vision on prevention and my commitment to reform the way the United Nations works, in order to put people at the heart of our decision-making.

I welcome the contribution that the five core responsibilities of the Agenda for Humanity make to help achieve this vision and I am gratified to see the progress that is being made by so many stakeholders to take forward the commitments they made in Istanbul.

The World Humanitarian Summit was one step toward our joint endeavor to reduce human suffering. It is critical that we maintain this momentum to advance the Agenda for Humanity and deliver better results for people in the coming years.