World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey

People take group photos in front of a display board of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on May 22, 2016. The 1st World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul, Turkey
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World humanitarian summit opens in Istanbul as India offers more assistance

People take group photos in front of a display board of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on May 22, 2016. The 1st World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul, Turkey
People take group photos in front of a display board of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on May 22, 2016. The 1st World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul, Turkey

 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday opened the first world humanitarian summit in  with a call for world leaders to be committed to improving the humanitarian responses to crises.

In his opening remarks to the two-day summit, Ban called on world leaders to align themselves with the five core responsibilities, which include preventing and ending conflicts and respecting the rules of war, Xinhua news agency reported.

India Offers Aid

India reaffirmed its commitment to extend its assistance in humanitarian crises in different parts of the world.

“India has been generally supportive of the principles of burden sharing and solidarity in respect of refugees,” Sujata Mehta, Secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, said at a symposium.

“However, we have reservations in case there is an attempt to call for a so-called ‘equitable or shared responsibility’ to address refugee crises,” she said.

“…Let me reaffirm India’s commitment to providing humanitarian assistance as per our ability and national circumstances, to neighbouring and other friendly countries, based on their request and conscious of the gravity of the problem.”

Mehta said that India amply demonstrated such commitment to support neighbouring countries during the Nepal earthquake in 2015.

She said that the World Humanitarian Summit, convened by the UN secretary general and organised by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), was significant and was also generating high expectations in terms of what it could achieve.

“The UNSG’s Report estimates the annual deficit in humanitarian relief at $15 billion,” the secretary said.

“The UNSG advocates a new humanitarian aid architecture and seeks new financial arrangements to address consequences of dangerous policies, but does not refer to measures to prevent their emergence in the first place.”

Mehta said that India welcomed the UNSG’s observation that additional humanitarian financing cannot come at the expense of development funding and that developed countries should fulfill their commitments to provide 0.7 pecent of their gross domestic product (GDP) as overseas development assistance (ODA).

“We believe that responsibility sharing should be based on agreed principles of CBDR (common but differentiated responsibilities) and not on nebulous so-called equitable responsibility sharing,” she stated.

“Turning to the immediate – the root causes for the ongoing humanitarian emergencies – the largest movement of people since the Second World War, are deeply embedded in the recent conflicts in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria.”

According to the secretary, it is clear that there are fundamental issues surrounding the failure of UN Security Council in preventing the emergence of grave conflict situations in these countries leading to a humanitarian crisis.

“This also points starkly to the need for urgent reform of the UN Security Council,” she said.

She warned that in the absence of strong political leadership to find sustainable solutions, there was a real danger of the humanitarian situation worsening further.

Mehta said that the UN should focus on playing a central role in providing leadership and coordination to the efforts of the international community to support strengthening its response capacity in a cost effective and timely manner.

“This support can include capacity building at local, national and regional levels through training, development of local leadership, thrust towards innovation and resilience building, strengthening of national actors, and so forth,” she said.

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