A top level Holy See delegation will be present in Istanbul for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit that takes place on 23 and 24 May.
Convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the world witnesses the highest level of human suffering since World War 2, the summit brings together governments, humanitarian organizations, people affected by humanitarian crises and new partners – including the private sector.
At the heart of the summit is the call for us all to invest in humanity – that is in people’s safety, dignity and the right to thrive – to place that belief at the core of global decision-making.
To do this, the summit is asking participants to propose solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges and to set an agenda for effective humanitarian action.
What with over 4.3 million Syrians displaced by the conflict in their nation and estimates there will be at least 4.7 million by the end of the year, refugee issues will take center stage in Istanbul as leaders and policy-makers have to acknowledge that more than half of those suffering are children under the age of 18 who have lost everything: family, friends, education and hope for a future of normality.
So, while the Summit is above all a call to action to change the effects of the crisis on a global, regional and local level by trying to rethink and reshape the aid given to refugees today, the refugee crisis is not the only topic.
All participants will be committed to a unified agenda focusing on climate change, urbanization, population growth and how new technology can be used for the benefit of everyone. Round table events will provide the space for further creative brainstorming and on how to share and invest in new ideas.
So important are the issues at stake that the Holy See has sent three top representatives to the meeting including Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, Permanent Observer to the UN, Archbishop Bernard Auza and Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who until a few months ago was the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva.
The role and specific value of religious organizations and faith-based groups involved in peace-making, humanitarian assistance and long term reconstruction is recognized and highlighted as the strengthening of the synergies between all humanitarian stakeholders is one of the priorities in Istanbul.
Listen to the report here by Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni