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Some progress at World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul - but world leaders fail to deliver the goods


As the World Humanitarian Summit draws to a close, Oxfam's welcomes the progress made by those attending the two day event but the absence of key world leaders ultimately undermined the power of the summit to deliver the prospect of real change.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International said: "The first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul successfully brought together a dynamic mix of people who made progress on improving the humanitarian system - but ultimately it was world leaders who dodged their responsibility to protect civilians from the ongoing suffering of wars and natural disasters.

"The event had its successes: it supported momentum for local leadership and included the voices of local civil society organizations and activists; there was recognition of women’s empowerment as a right; some richer countries including Norway and Germany increased financial commitments while Denmark renewed its humanitarian strategy; there was notable progress on education, efficient humanitarian financing, and the 'Grand Bargain' which will give more power and funds to local frontline NGOs. 

"But governments have continued to only pay lip service to accountability - their actions on international humanitarian law and gender equality fail to match their words. The 40 or so world leaders who did attend were overshadowed by conspicuous absences, itself revealing the lack of global political will to make the necessary changes for the people who need them most.

Press contact

For more information, contact:

Lauren Hartnett
Humanitarian Media Lead
New York, NY
Cell: (203) 247-3920
Email: [email protected]

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