World Humanitarian Summit

23 May 2016


In our rapidly changing world, we must continually seek better ways to meet the needs of millions of people affected by conflicts and disasters. The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Istanbul from 23-24 May 2016, is a global call to action by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It brought together governments, humanitarian organizations, people affected by humanitarian crises and new partners, including the private sector, to propose solutions to our most pressing challenges and set an agenda to keep humanitarian action fit for the future.

The Summit had three main goals:

  1. Reaffirm our commitment to humanity and humanitarian principles.
  2. Initiate actions and commitments which enable countries and communities to prepare for and respond to crises and be more resilient to shocks.
  3. Share best practices which help save lives around the world, placing affected people at the centre of humanitarian action and alleviating suffering.

The world is at a critical juncture. We are witnessing the highest level of human suffering since the Second World War. Nearly 60 million people, half of them children, have been forced from their homes due to conflict and violence. The human and economic cost of disasters caused by natural hazards is also escalating. In the last two decades, 218 million people each year were affected by disasters; at an annual cost to the global economy that now exceeds $300 billion.

Never before has humanitarian action delivered so much for so many vulnerable people around the world. But unless we adopt more effective ways to address their suffering, we cannot aspire to a world of peace, security and sustainable development where no one is left behind. Decisive, collective action is needed to uphold our shared responsibility to save lives and enable people to live lives of dignity.

And young people are a critical part of that response. The Summit's Special Session "Transforming Humanitarian Action with and for Young People", on 24 May, served as a platform for governments, UN agencies, NGOs, youth groups and the private sector to express their commitment to a new Global Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action. 

"Youth participation and leadership should be the rule, rather than the exception – institutionalized in humanitarian processes and policies, and explicitly stipulated in operational plans and budgets," said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin during  the opening of the session. "We can no longer afford to leave young people behind."

"It is time to make the humanitarian system work for young people, by engaging them, addressing the risk factors they face and maximizing their ability to help rebuild and re-energize their communities and countries," he added. The compact was endorsed by UNFPA and over 25 other organisations during a signing ceremony that took place immediately following the Special Session. 

Where to find UNFPA during WHS

23 - 24 May

·         Maternity ward virtual reality viewing: Screenings of a 5-minute 3-D video of the UNFPA-supported maternity ward at Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp 

 Location: ICC B5 

·         Innovation Market place event "Primero/GBVIMS+ the next generation of the GBVIMS" 

Location: ICC stand 070

Monday, 23 May 

·         11:00 - 12:30: Sexual and Reproductive Health Side Event, Call to Humanity - Transformative Humanitarian Action for Prioritizing Sexual and Reproductive Health 

Location: LKCC Marmara (300 – Theater)

·         15:00: Official launch of the Safe Birth Even Here Campaign

Location: ICC Press Center

·         16:00 - 17:00: Special Session 1, Religious Engagement - The Contributions of Faith Communities to Our Shared Humanity 

Location: ICC Beylerbeyi

·         17:15 - 18:15: Special Session on Global Health

Location: ICC Emirgan Hall

Tuesday, 24 May

·         11:30 - 13:30: High-Level Leaders’ Roundtable 7: Women and Girls – Catalyzing Action to Achieve Gender Equality 

Location: ICC Emirgan Hall

·         ​14:30 - 15:30: Special Session 2 , Transforming Humanitarian Action with and for Young People”

Location:  ICC Emirgan Hall 

·         ​15:00 - 16:30: GBV Side Event, A Call to Action for Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies - Leadership, Coordination, Tools and Practice 

Location: LKCC Hisar (330 - Theater)

·         ​15:40 - 16:40: ​Signature Ceremony of the Compact, following the Special Session, Transforming Humanitarian Action with and for Young People

Location: ICC Dolmabahçe Room

·         ​16:45 - 17:30: ​Youth Peace and Security Global Study Consultation 

Location: ICC Dolmabahçe Room


Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action

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