CCOE at World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey

Picture: Discussion panel during a special session at the summit in Istanbul / Source: CCOE/ Been

Amidst an increasing refugee and humanitarian crisis, the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) took place on 23-24 May 2016. It convened 9000 participants from 173 United Nations member states, including 55 heads of state and government, hundreds of private sector representatives, and thousands of people from civil society and non-governmental organizations. The CCOE was represented by Director Colonel Roel Been and Legal Adviser Lotte Kerkkamp-de Rijcke. In numerous personal calls with senior participants, the Director outlined the key function of Civil-Military Interaction in the alleviation of complex crisis resolution.

One of the side events of the WHS concerned a project that the CCOE has been actively involved in from the start. Depending on the context, the interaction between humanitarian and military actors ranges from close cooperation to mere co-existence. Humanitarian-military dialogue at all levels is essential and the basis for effective humanitarian action on the ground. It is therefore necessary to develop common standards for the efficient and appropriate use of military forces and assets in support of humanitarian action. This concept has gained a lot of traction along the roadmap of civil-military events leading up to the Summit. The Consultative Group on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination has decided to act on these conclusions and has assembled a Drafting Committee and will at a later stage assemble an Advisory group to develop common humanitarian civil-military standards. The CCOE is a member of this Drafting Committee and will also take part in the Advisory Group.

In its 70 years, the United Nations have never before called upon so many different stakeholders, to discuss the pressing challenges resulting in human suffering today.

Cultural Presentation World Humanitarian Summit 2016

Picture: Cultural presentation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Turkish president Recep Erdogan as part of the closing ceremony / Source: CCOE/ Kerkkamp-de Rijcke

This summit was intended as a call to action by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, bringing together the global community to reaffirm solidarity with people affected by crises, as well as strengthening the collective commitment to humanity. He asked that the search for solutions to the growing challenges facing the humanitarian system be based on the experience of all relevant stakeholders.

To this end, a worldwide consultation process has taken place over the course of the previous eighteen months to gather the views of affected people, governments, civil society, humanitarian organisations, the private sector and other partners. Reaching more than 23,000 people in 153 countries, this has been the most comprehensive consultation on humanitarian action ever done.

 Gateway to the World Humanitarian Summit 2016
Picture: Gateway to the World Humanitarian Summit/ Source: CCOE/ Kerkkamp-de Rijcke

As a result, a new and coherent approach is required based on addressing root causes, increasing political diplomacy for prevention and conflict resolution, and bringing humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts together. The World Humanitarian Summit has generated global momentum and political will to move forward on the Agenda of Humanity. An annual update will review the progress made in taking forward and implementing all that has been achieved and committed at this summit.

Article is written by CCOE/ Legal Advisor / Lotte Kerkkamp-de Rijcke / PAO office / Tilman Engel (GER)

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