EU wants to reshape international assistance at World Humanitarian Summit
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    EU wants to reshape international assistance at World Humanitarian Summit

    The European Union and its Member States will jointly call for a global partnership for a more efficient and effective humanitarian aid system at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

    As a major donor and key policy-setter, the EU and the Member States will play a leading role at the Summit this week on 23-24 May.

    Over 50 world leaders and some 5,000 humanitarian, development and political stakeholders will gather to shift from response to crisis towards effectively managing prevention and early action and supporting resilience and self-reliance.

    Worldwide, over 125 million men, women and children are in need of humanitarian assistance. Despite record contributions in recent years, donors cannot fully cover the growing humanitarian needs generated by today’s emergencies.

    To ensure efficient and effective financing to address a US$15 billion funding gap, the “Grand Bargain” will be launched at the summit, a proposal made by the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel (HLP) on Humanitarian Financing in its report “Too Important to Fail: addressing the humanitarian financing gap”.

    To tackle the funding gap, the Panel identified three action areas: shrinking the needs, deepening the resource base and an efficiency pact called the Grand Bargain.

    At the Summit, the European Commission will be represented by Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources, Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.

     “Our goal over the next five years is to bring an additional billion dollars into the hands of people in dire need of live-saving help, by making efficiency savings on the backroom activities of donors and aid organisations, “ says Kristalina Georgieva, vice-chair of the United Nations High-Level Panel.

    She added that “In the space of a few months, we have been able to negotiate a deal between major players in the humanitarian ecosystem – a deal addressing issues that have hindered and hampered life-saving work for years.”

    To ensure that people in need receive rapid and unimpeded humanitarian assistance, an EU priority at the summit is promoting respect for International Humanitarian Law.

    The Commission writes that the EU has been actively involved in the two-year long preparations to the Summit from the outset. In the consultation process over 23 000 stakeholders such as governments, businesses, aid organisations, civil society, affected communities and youth groups were consulted.

    EU supports the entirety of the core commitments put forward by the United Nations and has proposed 100 individual commitments to action. Among others, EU is committed to supporting education in emergencies and protracted crises.

    This year, the EU has reached the global target of 4% of humanitarian funding earmarked for education. In addition more than 60% of funding for education in development cooperation is allocated to fragile and conflict affected countries. Education is also a priority in the EU’s response to the Syria crisis.

    The European Commission’s strategic vision for reshaping humanitarian action is laid out in the Communication “Towards the World Humanitarian Summit – A global partnership for principled and effective humanitarian action“.

    The underlying message is to build and reinforce a global partnership working together to achieve the common objectives of saving lives, preventing and alleviating suffering and maintaining human dignity. The EU’s position ahead of the Summit was set out in the Council Conclusions of 12 May 2016.

     “The World Humanitarian Summit must be a wake-up call in the face of growing long-term development needs and escalating humanitarian crises,” says Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels Director at ONE, a campaigning and advocacy organization.

    If current trends continue, by 2030 the costs of humanitarian assistance alone are projected to double to $50 billion – just when the world should be achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to end extreme poverty, says ONE.

    ONE released last week a new Financing Stability report which illustrates how existing efforts to support refugees and end poverty are inadequate and have no hope of meeting current and future needs.

    The report with a foreword by Kristalina Georgieva and complete with graphics and interactive digital map is available here.

    The Brussels Times (Source: European Commission)