We are witnessing the highest level of human suffering since the Second World War. That is why, for the first time in the 70 year history of the United Nations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened the World Humanitarian Summit to generate commitments to reduce suffering and deliver better for people around the globe. The Summit took place in Istanbul on May 23-24, 2016. As participants in this first of its kind summit, leaders of nations and agencies and ordinary citizens were asked to place at the heart of global decision-making all people’s safety, dignity and right to thrive.
The Secretary-General proposed an agenda with five core responsibilities:
1. PREVENT AND END CONFLICT
2. RESPECT RULES OF WAR
3. LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND
4. WORK DIFFERENTLY TO END NEED
5. INVEST IN HUMANITY.
Some priority issues that were addressed are:
• A new global approach to manage forced displacement, with an emphasis on ensuring hope and dignity for refugees or internally displaced people, and support of host countries and communities. Conflict- displaced people rose to 60 million in 2014.
• Empowering women and girls, and catalyzing action to gender equality. Gender inequality prevents women and girls from leading safe, healthy and dignified lives. Only 0.5% of humanitarian funding went to gender-based violence support.
• Adapting new approaches to respond to protracted crises and recurrent disasters, reduce vulnerability, and manage risk, by bridging the divide between development and humanitarian partners.
‘• Secure adequate and predictable finance to save lives and alleviate suffering. The UN humanitarian appeal requirements have increased by four times in 10 years. The year 2015 was the lowest funding year with the largest needs, only 55% funded.
In researching this unique gathering of leaders and citizens of the global community, I am struck by the connections that can be made with our own Chapter commitments, our Justice committees’ endeavors, the work of Network and LCWR. This is only a sampling of the issues that cry out for our prayer and action as well as our outrage.
To read more and view the rich videos please search “World Humanitarian Summit.”
Finally, we may ask ourselves in this politically intense environment “Will we make our contribution to global humanitarian needs as we give our attention to the crying needs of US citizens? Will we welcome the displaced?”