About the World Humanitarian Summit

As a result of conflict and disaster, more than 130 million people around the world need humanitarian assistance in order to survive.Today, the scale of human suffering is greater than at any time since the Second World War. This is why, for the first time in the 70-year history of the United Nations, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened the World Humanitarian Summit to generate commitments to reduce suffering and deliver better for people around the globe..

The Summit took place in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016 and convened 9,000 participants from 173 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.

This unique Summit has set us on a new course. It is not an end point, but a turning point.

UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon


World Humanitarian Summit Initiatives

More than a dozen initiatives, partnerships, platforms and alliances were either newly developed or strengthened through the World Humanitarian Summit process and will help implement the Core Responsibilities and turn the Agenda for Humanity into reality.

Explore the Initiatives launched at the summit


  • What was the World Humanitarian Summit ?

    The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016, was a global call to action by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    The Summit had three main goals:

    1. To re-inspire and reinvigorate a commitment to humanity and to the universality of humanitarian principles.
    2. To initiate a set of concrete actions and commitments aimed at enabling countries and communities to better prepare for and respond to crises, and be resilient to shocks.
    3. To share best practices which can help save lives around the world, put affected people at the center of humanitarian action, and alleviate suffering.
  • What were the Summit's outcomes ?

    The World Humanitarian Summit was a pivotal moment for the global humanitarian agenda. It generated global momentum and political determination to move forward on the former UN Secretary-General’s Agenda for Humanity and its five core responsibilities, in order to deliver better for people across the globe. The diversity of voices heard at the Summit, and their convergence around key issues and ideas, was a first for the humanitarian sector.

    The Summit generated over 3,000 commitments to action, and over 2,500 alignments with the core commitments to deliver the Agenda for Humanity. In addition, more than 20 initiatives were either launched or strengthened, aimed at improving the lives of people affected by humanitarian crises.

    The outcome documents of the World Humanitarian Summit are available here (www.agendaforhumanity.org/resources).

  • What issues were discussed at the Summit ?

    At the Summit, global leaders discussed how to effectively respond to major humanitarian challenges, and how to be better prepared to meet challenges of the future. Some of the priority issues included:

    • A new global approach to manage forced displacement, with an emphasis on ensuring hope and dignity for refugees or internally displaced people, and support of host countries and communities.
    • Empowering women and girls, and catalysing action to gender equality.
    • Adapting new approaches to respond to protracted crises and recurrent disasters, reduce vulnerability, and manage risk, by bridging the divide between development and humanitarian partners.
    • Securing adequate and predictable finance to save lives and alleviate suffering.
    • Reinforcing the centrality of protection in humanitarian action and increasing respect for International Humanitarian Law.
    • Adapting to new challenges through local, inclusive, and context specific responses.
  • Who attended the Summit ?

    The Summit included approximately 9,000 participants from 173 Member States of the United Nations, including 55 Heads of State and Government.

    700 NGOs including 350 national and local NGOs and CSOs, and 250 international NGOs and 350 representatives of the private sector were present.

    130 representatives of the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and other stakeholders including academia, faith-based leaders, media and others also participated in the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit.