World must ‘act with collective humanity’ to address growing humanitarian needs – Ban

30 September 2015

As preparations continue for next year’s World Humanitarian Summit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need for all actors to work together to address the growing needs around the globe which are due to a number of factors but mainly driven by armed conflict.

“Let us act with collective humanity to lift people in crisis from fear and helplessness,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to a high-level event convened by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual debate.

He noted that around the world, thousands of men and women dedicate themselves to helping communities facing perilous circumstances. However, despite these efforts, each year the number of people in need continues to escalate.

“The scale and cost of meeting humanitarian needs is increasingly overwhelming our capacity to respond. The future will be even worse if we do not take decisive, collective action now.”

Recalling last week’s adoption by Member States of a new sustainable development agenda, Mr. Ban said it will not be possible to achieve a world of safety and dignity for all without addressing the plight of millions of women, children and men affected by humanitarian crises.

This is why the World Humanitarian Summit that the UN will convene in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 and 24 May 2016 will be so important, he noted. “The Summit is a vital opportunity to reinforce our common endeavour to save lives, and prevent and alleviate suffering.”

The Summit will bring together governments, humanitarian organizations, people affected by humanitarian crises and new partners including the private sector to propose solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges and set an agenda to keep humanitarian action fit for the future.

It will build on a series of major global conferences such as the progress achieved on disaster risk reduction in Sendai, on development financing in Addis Ababa, on sustainable development in New York, and on the agreement on climate change that Member States are striving to adopt in Paris in December.

In preparation for the Summit, global consultation process has taken place involving 23,000 people in 151 countries. The Synthesis Report of the consultations proposes five major action areas to shape the Summit: dignity; safety; resilience; partnerships and finance.

Also expected to frame the discussions at the Summit are recommendations that will be submitted by the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, which the Secretary-General set up in May to identify ways to close the gap between rising needs and the resources available to meet them.

Mr. Ban, who will later today convene a high-level meeting on migration and refugee movements, noted that more than 60 million people around the world have been forced to abandon their homes due to violence and persecution – more than at any time since the Second World War – and half of them are children.

“Armed conflict is by far the greatest driver of humanitarian need,” he stated. “The absence of political solutions leads to protracted crises and more displacement. As populations rise, along with extreme poverty, growing inequality and rapid unplanned urbanization, natural hazards are a growing risk.

“Climate change is also causing increasing humanitarian stress,” he continued, adding that it threatens to cause massive internal displacement and cross-border movement in the coming decades.

“Let us never forget that behind each statistic is a human life: a woman, a man, a child, with aspirations and human rights. Each deserves protection. Each has a right to a life of dignity.”

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN and partners spotlight gap between rising humanitarian needs and available resources

As discussions on the new global sustainable development agenda continued at the United Nations in New York, world leaders, UN officials and humanitarian partners focused on one of the most important challenges today, namely the growing gap between the increasing numbers of people in need of humanitarian assistance and sufficient resources to provide relief.