Building an agenda for humanity.

Author:Gerard, Antoine

Humanitarian action has never reached so many people in so many places. Around the world, more actors than ever are involved in delivering life-saving assistance and protection to people in need: from Governments, which bear the primary responsibility for providing assistance to their people, to international and national organizations and networks, to businesses and private foundations.

Yet, despite the extraordinary work being done to save lives and protect people in crisis, the humanitarian system is under strain, trying to meet the highest level of need since the Second World War. Nearly 60 million people have been forced from their homes due to conflict and violence, and some 218 million people are affected by disasters each year.

Humanitarian crises cost the global economy millions. They halt or even reverse development gains. Each year the needs--and the costs--grow higher. Appeals led by the United Nations have increased from $3.4 billion in 2003 to $20 billion in 2016. At the same time, the gap between the scale of needs and the resources available to meet them is growing. Global action is desperately needed to reverse this trend.

This is why United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a World Humanitarian Summit, the first event of its kind in the 70-year history of the United Nations. The Summit will be held in Istanbul from 23 to 24 May 2016.


At the heart of the World Humanitarian Summit is the question of how to address the needs of growing numbers of people affected by or vulnerable to crises, while also preparing for a more risky and uncertain future. In calling for the Summit, the Secretary-General asked the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to conduct a worldwide consultation process to inform the search for solutions. In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), OCHA established the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat to conduct the consultations.

Between June 2014 and October 2015, the Summit secretariat conducted the most comprehensive consultations on humanitarian action ever undertaken. To ensure that the search for solutions was based on and informed by the experience of all relevant stakeholders, the process included the views of affected people, Governments, civil society, humanitarian organizations, the private sector and other partners.

In total, the consultations reached more than 23,000 people in 153...

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