Agenda for humanity

Opinion Sunday 28/February/2016 14:19 PM
By: Times News Service
Agenda for humanity

The number of persons that are dependent on humanitarian aid has now become higher than ever since the founding of the United Nations. The number of warring parties who do not abstain from violating international humanitarian law has increased. More resources than ever are necessary to meet the humanitarian needs, which increase starkly. However, we are also facing a greater shortage in funding than ever.
For this and many other reasons, I invite you to attend the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May. I call upon world leaders, international organisations and others to give more support and to increase the donations for those who urgently need it. There is no time to waste.
Climate change affects the lives of everyone on our fragile planet. Violent conflicts that appear to be chronic, the intensity of violence, crimes crossing national borders, the increase in inequality; these are all factors which devastate the lives of millions of men, women and children and disturb the stability in these regions. The number of persons who were forced to flee from their homes is greater than ever since the World War II.
The number of those who need humanitarian help around the world exceeds 125 million. If we would gather them in one country, it would be the eleventh biggest country in the world and among the fastest growing.
These complex challenges today cross borders. No country or organisation can overcome them on its own. We need to build trust in the ability of national, regional and international organisations to confront these challenges.
We have to understand that our shared humanity should form the basis of our policies and give direction to our financial decisions. Before the start of the summit, I have prepared an agenda for humanity in the framework of change and accountability. It consists of five main responsibilities.
First, leaders have to concentrate their efforts to find political solutions to avoid conflicts and to end them. These conflicts are the greatest impediment on human development, because of their huge economic and human costs. We have to move from managing conflicts to countering them.
Second, countries have to adhere to rules that defend humanity. This means complying with international humanitarian and human rights laws and halting attacks on civil targets. It also means abiding by national and international justice and ending the practice of escaping punishment.
Third, we must not neglect anyone and first, we have to reach out to those who are displaced. This means changing the lives of the weakest groups, including people who live in conflicts and poverty and those whose lives are exposed to natural dangers and rising sea levels. Forced displacement must be tackled and more opportunities to find a safe haven should be offered in a legal and organized way. Women and girls must be empowered and good education for all must be guaranteed. There is no way of realising the goals of sustainable growth when these groups are not reached. World leaders agreed upon these goals last September.
The fourth main responsibility is offering aid to end the need. We need to close the gap between humanitarian work and development work. We also need to investigate conflicts instead of waiting them to happen. We need to improve local leadership and skills in order to limit aspects of weakness. We have to empower people and local communities in their persistence in confronting crises, as they are the ones responsive to it.
Fifth, we need to invent smart ways of mobilising funding. This will demand diversifying and widening of resources and using a wider set of funding tools. I proposed a new international funding plan with the World Bank to determine ways of funding in response to continuing crises.
The Agenda for Humanity presents basic instruments and strategic transitions the world needs in order to alleviate humanitarian needs and to realise sustainable growth. I call upon world leaders to attend the World Humanitarian Summit and to attach importance to improving sustainable human progress, respectable life and safety for all.

- Ban Ki-Moon is the Secretary General of the United Nations