Angela Merkel at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul

Creating a viable humanitarian system

Speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit, Chancellor has called for strict respect for international law. Angela Merkel said the fact that we have to discuss this, is in itself a disaster.

Chancellor Angela Merkel in Istanbul
"We need a new global consensus about humanitarian principles," stated Angela Merkel Photo Bundesregierung/Güngör

She also called for a global consensus on better networking emergency aid to respond to natural disasters, crises and war.

"We must not stumble forward from one disaster to the next," said Chancellor Angela Merkel in Istanbul. What is needed is a global system of international aid that interlocks and functions as smoothly as possible. The world must learn to see early warning systems, prevention, stabilisation, peacebuilding and sustainable development, and the relevant instruments for each, as parts of a whole, said the Chancellor at the Leaders' Roundtable.

The international community needs a new consensus on humanitarian principles. It is a disaster that we have to raise the issue of respecting international law, stressed Angela Merkel. "Yet we see in Syria, in Yemen and elsewhere that hospitals are being systematically attacked, health centres destroyed and doctors killed."

First World Humanitarian Summit

The first World Humanitarian Summit is a response to an initiative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The international community intends to step up its global engagement to resolve crises. Humanitarian emergencies are to be prevented and humanitarian disasters handled more efficiently.

Angela Merkel thanked United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, for, as she put it, "sticking his finger in the wound". She thanked Turkey for its hospitality in hosting the Summit. The Chancellor was accompanied by Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller.

The World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May 2016 is being hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Along with governments and international organisations, delegations of non-governmental organisations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and private-sector representatives are attending.

Better networking development cooperation

In future the international community will have to better network its activities if it is to handle crises and conflicts more effectively, said Angela Merkel. Prevention, development cooperation and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must go hand in hand, she added.

Climate change, hunger and civil wars – conflicts have many causes. "That is why we must address several different points," said Angela Merkel. It is, however, vitally important that the different instruments work better together.

Peace is the single most important precondition for sustainable development. That is why the international community must learn to better coordinate humanitarian and political activities both in crisis prevention and in their response to violent conflicts.

The call for good governance must be more resolute. At the end of the day "there is no point in making efforts at international level in political talks if there is no transparent governance and none of the objectives agreed actually benefit the people".

And we must manage to involve civil society to a greater extent in conflict resolution, said Angela Merkel, "especially women, who are much more willing to use resources for their families, for children and to foster coexistence on the ground".

Putting financing on a sound footing

Aid programmes and humanitarian measures will have to be reliable in future too. That is why the international community is planning to realign the financing of humanitarian aid. "Germany supports the proposal to raise the volume of the Central Emergency Response Fund to one billion US dollars," declared the Chancellor at the plenary session of the World Humanitarian Summit.

She advocated giving insurance models a chance alongside classic methods of financing, and gave the example of insurance schemes to cover against climate-change-related risks or global epidemics. Schemes of this sort can offer swift assistance. "If people claim on their insurance they are no longer perceived as supplicants, but as individuals with legal entitlements. For this reason, insurance models can bring about a genuine change," explained Angela Merkel.

Germany’s engagement

The Chancellor re-affirmed that Germany is to step up its financial engagement in future. "We need well-filled crisis facilities before disaster strikes, rather than activities that only get off the ground after the event," said Angela Merkel. As well as raising the Central Emergency Response Fund, the German government supports the initiative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to strengthen humanitarian funds in countries affected by crises and conflicts so as to strengthen the global crisis response capability.

Following the summit, the Chancellor met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for bilateral talks.



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