Secretary-General at the Foreign Ministry Linhart: World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul as an opportunity for a more effective response to the enormous increase in humanitarian challenges.

From 23 to 24 May 2016, a World Humanitarian Summit convened by the United Nations Secretary-General is being held in Istanbul.

Secretary-General at the Foreign Ministry Michael Linhart highlighted the important signal sent out by this summit against the background of the enormous increase in humanitarian challenges: “As a result of the growing number of sometimes very long-standing crises, the need for humanitarian assistance has risen substantially over the last decade. I hope that this summit will give rise to reforms aimed at strengthening the system of global humanitarian assistance and will send out a clear signal highlighting the necessity for observing international humanitarian law”.

At the summit, participants including states and other stakeholders such as international organisations and civil society players, will make pledges in support of the “Agenda for Humanity”, presented by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Pledges planned by Austria will focus in particular on strengthening international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians in armed conflict. In most cases, humanitarian emergency situations are triggered and exacerbated by the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and human rights. The devastating impact of the use of explosive weapons on civilians in populated areas will thus constitute one of our priorities”, said Linhart. An event focusing on this topic and involving the participation of high-level speakers will be organised by Austria.

Further pledges will relate inter alia to fighting sexual and gender-specific violence, disaster prevention and stronger support from international financial institutions to countries which take in refugees. In this connection Linhart stated: “The provision of support to refugees and to the countries affected in the crisis-hit regions is a central contribution to managing the refugee crisis. Austria has therefore significantly increased its financial commitment: funding for the Foreign Disaster Fund was raised to 20 million euros; Austria’s contribution to the European Union’s Refugee Facility for Turkey amounts to 45.6 million euros; additional funding of some 160 million euros was made available to the World Bank’s International Development Agency for developing countries which are either origin, transit or target countries of refugee flows.”

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