Turkish aid organizations prepare for UN summit


First ever World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul in May 2016

ISTANBUL – Turkey’s prominent humanitarian aid organizations have gathered Thursday in Istanbul to discuss their agenda and preparations for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.

Dozens of representatives from various humanitarian organizations, including the Turkish Red Crescent, discussed issues like security, logistics and international humanitarian law in the conflict zones, ahead of the summit initiated by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which is to take place in Istanbul next year in May.

“It is Turkish government and non-governmental organizations’ pleasure to host such a summit in the country,” said Muhammet Serdar Erbas, a junior official at Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, or AFAD.

Delegates also debated affected communities in war, humanitarian aid systems and alternative ways to fund humanitarian aid.

“The 2016 World Humanitarian Summit will constitute a historically important step to address the common concerns and aims of the international community, on a par with important global meetings like the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry on its website.

In recent years, Turkey has increased its humanitarian aid to the world. Turkey spent $1.04 billion on humanitarian aid in 2012, ranking fourth globally behind the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, according to multinational Global Humanitarian Assistance’s 2013 report.

Also, Turkey is hosting close to 2 million Syrian refugees and has sent tons of humanitarian aid to Nepal after a devastating earthquake in the Asian country last month.