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How the Istanbul Summit delivered a gift for children in emergency

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Added 30th May 2016 03:03 PM

There were heads of State and government. Hundreds of private sector representatives were present. Experts from civil society and non-governmental organisations also attended. You can consider it a big statement of intent

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Simon J Mone

There were heads of State and government. Hundreds of private sector representatives were present. Experts from civil society and non-governmental organisations also attended. You can consider it a big statement of intent

By Simon J Mone

Last week was very significant on the calendar of a humanitarian practitioner. For the very first time, stakeholders gathered in Istanbul, Turkey to try and take stalk of happenings around vulnerabilities in this humble and arrogant world of ours. Called the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), this assembly brought together 9,000 participants from 173 states.

There were heads of State and government. Hundreds of private sector representatives were present. Experts from civil society and non-governmental organisations also attended. You can consider it a big statement of intent. An indicator of how important the two-day meeting was. So we can say that from this summit, stakeholders have shown willingness and commitment to stop human suffering.

And we have the government of Turkey to thank. For they have been compassionate, by facilitating this historic get-together. The WHS will go down as one more gesture to behold. Stakeholders want to pull their weights in one direction. Its aim is to break a deadlock that has for too long, marred provision of aid to people in need. In a week when coast guarders continued to pull bodies out of the Mediterranean Sea.

Of people who fled difficult conditions from their motherland. And in a year when earthquakes continue to rip apart homesteads, leaving multitudes of people begging for assistance. In a year when war and violence continue to ravage many countries, leaving its people hungry, without shelter and education.

Already a high proportion of the world’s population have had to deal with various kinds of disasters, so this summit couldn’t have come so timely. It was more than welcome. To see humanitarian agencies roll a plan up their sleeves.

Trying to stop human suffering should be a big relief for those potentially in need. News bulletins never pass without providing daily updates of hundreds of thousands of suffering people. Cumulatively, millions of men, women, children and the elderly across the world must depend on humanitarian assistance. For them, life simply cannot offer any meaning because of their state of destituteness. Therefore, cry for assistance continues because of constantly growing needs.

So the WHS was a clever idea to find better ways which international community can prevent or end crises. Ways that can re-organise methods of aid delivery. Thus, after two days of brainstorming in Istanbul, some significant outcomes were realised. We can now unpack these compassionate outcomes.

European Union pledged some commitments. To strengthen existing policy framework that favours suffering people – a good beginning point. Programmes that restore hope and dignity for underprivileged people were assured – another good outcome given the downward trend that aid delivery was taking. Also promised was funding of these activities. We hope that such a meeting becomes an annual event.

It not only offers a chance for stakeholders to stay abreast with progress of implementation of programmes to restore livelihoods of vulnerable people. But it is good for accountability as well. Thus, implementation of these promises will eliminate human suffering. And conflicts, natural disasters will be history.

This approach addresses root causes. It is very clear that current humanitarian assistance efforts have not adequately addressed sustainably, needs of suffering and vulnerable millions around the world. Now resources that have not been enough to cope with alarming humanitarian trends are coming from reliable sources.

For example, a new fund was launched to support education of children and youth affected by humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises. With a nice theme, ‘education cannot wait fund – even in emergencies. So, long live the compassion spirit. And may this compassionate gift be delivered for the long-term.

The writer is a civil engineer

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