World Humanitarian Summit: The chance to turn the corner

The two-day World Humanitarian Summit kicks off in Istanbul, Turkey today, to discuss and implement measures enshrined in five core responsibilities addressing the need to achieve sustainable development across the globe and to favor investment in humanity over hatred and conflict.

"We are witnessing the greatest humanitarian crisis in our lifetime. The World Humanitarian Summit is our chance to end it". This is the claim by the United Nations Organization as the first World Humanitarian Summit gets under way in Istanbul, Turkey. The Summit follows the report "One Humanity: Shared Responsibility" launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in February.

Five core responsibilities

The five core responsibilities tabled at the Summit are "Prevent and end conflict", "Respect the rules of war", "Leave no-one behind", "Working differently to end need", and "Invest in humanity".

Convening the Summit on February 9, Ban Ki-Moon stated "We face profound, urgent and growing global challenges... Brutal and seemingly intractable conflicts are devastating the lives of millions and destabilizing entire regions. Violent extremism, terrorism and transnational crime are creating persistent instability."

Coupled with these trends, the UN Secretary-General pointed out that there is a widening gap between the richest and poorest, which is "marginalizing and alienating the most vulnerable in society" while "Climate change is having a profound impact with increasingly frequent and intense storms, floods and droughts."

 Renewing our commitment to humanity

He concluded, "The World Humanitarian Summit is the moment for us to come together to renew our commitment to humanity and the unity and cooperation required to prevent and end crisis and reduce people suffering and vulnerability."

Over 5,000 participants will discuss themes which will focus on Humanity - safety, dignity and equal rights - and central to this focus is women's empowerment. UN Women is present in Turkey to "advocate for greater investment for gender equality and for women's rights and women's empowerment to become standard principles of humanitarian planning and action." (UN Women)


The role of women

"Women have a large stake in the appropriateness of the services they receive, and must be involved in guiding those provisions to make sure they are directly relevant and effective. Getting it right for women is central to finding appropriate solutions for the millions of families and individuals displaced, homeless, or making new homes in host countries," stated Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director.

"There are two important challenges that are still not taken into consideration or integrated into humanitarian action. Firstly, women are marginalized when it comes to leadership and meaningful participation and are consistently excluded from decision-making processes in humanitarian response. This results in a lack of support offered to them to enable them to acquire the skills and resources needed to rebuild their lives. Secondly, the pervasive rise of sexual and domestic violence that women and girls experience in humanitarian situations which remains inadequately addressed" she added. "We know, for example, that early child marriage-considered a form of violence-increases dramatically in response to vulnerability and lack of resources," she added.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey


Twitter: @TimothyBHinchey

*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.


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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey