World humanitarian summit urges better response to crisis

Ankara, May 23 (IANS) The first world humanitarian summit opened in Turkey on Monday with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging governments, aid groups, the private sector and other stakeholders to act to improve the global humanitarian system.

In his opening remarks to the two-day summit, Ban called on the participants to make concrete commitments in five areas — conflict prevention and resolution, strengthening the protection of civilians, leaving no one behind, ending humanitarian need and ensuring funding for humanitarian actions, Xinhua news agency reported.

He put a particular emphasis on the issue of displaced populations, calling on the world to significantly reduce the number of the displaced in the years to come.

“I urge you to commit to halving the number of internally displaced people by 2030, and to find better long-term solutions for refugees and displaced people based on more equal sharing of responsibilities,” he said. “We are here to shape a different future.”

Also addressing the opening ceremony, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cited the heavy burden on Turkey in tackling the Syrian refugee crisis and stressed the need to revamp the global humanitarian system.

“The current system fails to meet the demands in the face of emergency problems and fails to develop solutions. Only certain countries take the responsibility,” he said. “From now on everyone should share the burden.”

“We have to adopt a new system that would put the human beings at the centre,” he said.

Turkey’s aid to refugees has already exceeded $10 billion, while the international community’s support stopped at $455 million, Erdogan said, adding that he hoped “the summit will be a turning point.”

Also on Monday, dozens of people protested outside the venue of the summit and 12 of them were detained by police, according to local media reports.

Attending the summit are some 5,200 participants, including 65 heads of state and government and representatives from crises-affected communities, NGOs, the private sector and UN agencies, according to figures released by the United Nations.

Of the 192 UN member states, 177 are represented at the summit.

–IANS

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