Cologne: The first UN World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) will take place in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May 2016. “The global consultation process that has taken place in the years preceding the summit has not just led to a comprehensive overview of the current state of affairs in humanitarian aid; it has put changes and improvements on the table that have long been called for by people within the system. Many of these points can be found in the UN Secretary General’s Agenda for Humanity that was released in February 2016,” said Sid Johann Peruvemba, Malteser International’s Vice Secretary General. Political, financial and operational support for these points will be sought at the Summit in Istanbul.
Malteser International has made an important contribution to a diverse range of consultation processes in the run up to the Summit – with a special focus on the role of faith-based actors in providing aid, especially in conflict regions. At present, most public discussion on humanitarian topics has been heavily focused on the issue of conflict in the Middle East, and the resulting waves of migration and population displacement – with particular attention to the effect of the latter on Western Europe. Among the key goals of Malteser International’s involvement at the Summit are measures to strengthen and support the local partners who usually provide the majority of first aid on the ground during crises, as well as improvements to the way that projects undertaken with the support of large public donors are managed. “We want to make the process of providing support to people affected by want and displacement more effective and more efficient. What we need is less bureaucracy and more aid!” said Peruvemba.
“One of the goals of the participants at the WHS is to use the unprecedented momentum that the Summit offers to begin making the necessary reforms within organizations, as well as international humanitarian structures – not just to talk about them,” said Sid Peruvemba. However, many experts are concerned that the negotiation and voting procedures at the WHS, which differ from those at other international summits, come with a degree of risk in this regard. Unlike, for example, the December 2015 Climate Summit in Paris, the WHS will not result in a binding UN resolution. Instead, participants are invited to make a range of voluntary commitments, whose monitoring and reporting procedures remain as yet undecided.
Sid Peruvemba, Vice Secretary General of Malteser International, and member of the Board at VENRO, as well as Dr. Jürgen Clemens, Malteser International’s Senior Program Advisor are available for interviews in Cologne and Istanbul.
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