Worldwide, humanitarian needs have increased in scope and diversity generating a large financing gap. Against this backdrop, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced in 2012 the organisation of a World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) – a two year process which culminated in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016. The Summit aimed to bring all stakeholders together to discuss how to reshape the global humanitarian system.
The European Commission was actively involved throughout the preparatory process of the Summit. It co-organised the preparatory European consultation (Budapest, 3-4 February 2015) and closely followed all other regional consultations as well as the global consultation in October 2015. It contributed to studies led by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and supported the work of the Summit's Secretariat.
In September 2015, the Commission adopted the EU's policy paper for the Summit, a Communication called 'Towards the World Humanitarian Summit: A global partnership for principled and effective humanitarian action'. The Communication set out the EU's strategic vision for reshaping humanitarian action ahead of the conference. Find out more in the e-publication or read the full Communication here. Subsequently, the EU and Member States agreed on the common vision for the World Humanitarian Summit in the Council Conclusions of 12 May 2016.
The Commission was active and present during the Summit; delegates spoke in 5 of the 7 high-level roundtables, 7 of the 15 special thematic sessions, 8 special events, and 22 side events. An exhibition stand presented the priorities of the Commission's humanitarian work.
The main outcome of the Summit for the EU was the commitment to 100 actions which relate to some aspects of its own policies, programmes and funds. Some of the key commitments are:
- Adoption of new guidelines on protection of civilians,
- Signing the Grand Bargain on Humanitarian Financing,
- Funding for the Education Cannot Wait initiative,
- Adoption of a new policy on forced displacement,
- Signing up to the Charter on Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, and
- Signing the Urban Crises Charter.
The EU also signed the Political Communique, which was supported by over 70 countries.
Like the EU, other countries and organisations made commitments for a better functioning humanitarian system. The UN Secretary General will outline a proposal on how to take action forward at global scale ahead of the UN General Assembly in September 2016.