World Summit called to ‘stand up and take action’ to reduce global humanitarian need

On the eve of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, United Nations top officials called on the international community to stand up and take action for humanity.

“Disasters, both man-made and natural, are becoming more frequent, more complex and more intense. More than 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and violence. At this summit, humanitarian partners around the world will commit to take concrete action to address this,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.

Some 5,200 participants, including 65 Heads of State and Government, 177 UN Member States, crises-affected communities, NGOs, the private sector and UN agencies will attend the Summit.

It follows an extensive global consultation with 23,000 stakeholders world-wide to identify the key humanitarian challenges of our time.

The UN Secretary-General has laid out his vision for the Summit in an Agenda for Humanity focusing on a set of core commitments: to prevent and end conflicts; uphold the norms that safeguard humanity; leave no one behind; change people’s lives – from delivering aid to ending need; and invest in humanity.

“Let us not underestimate the gravity of what lies before us in these coming days: A once in a generation opportunity to set in motion an ambitious and far-reaching agenda to change the way that we alleviate, and most importantly prevent, the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

More than 130 million people are in need of assistance and protection across the world today. Every year, humanitarian needs continue to grow and more people need more help for longer periods of time. This also drives up the costs of delivering life-saving assistance and protection. UN-led appeals have grown six-fold from US$3.4 billion in 2003 to nearly $21 billion today.