The first ever World Humanitarian Summit opened on Monday in Istanbul, Turkey with UN member states and humanitarian agencies in attendance.

World Leaders and representatives of the participant countries pose for a family photo during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
World Leaders and representatives of the participant countries pose for a family photo during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit opened on Monday in Istanbul, Turkey with UN member states and humanitarian agencies in attendance.

The opening speech of the summit was given by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

In his speech, Ban urged world leaders to share the responsibility of helping people and close the gap in humanitarian funding.

"We need to provide more direct funding to local people and communities and fix the persistent humanitarian funding gap and investing in building stable and inclusive societies.

"We declare we are one humanity with shared responsibilities. Let us resolve, ourselves, here and now, not only to keep people alive but to [give] people a chance at life in dignity."

He also called on the international community to help reduce the number of internally displaced people by 2030 and drew attention to the necessity of increasing humanitarian spending in order to reduce the risk of potential humanitarian crises.

"I urge you to commit to cutting in half the number of internally displaced people by 2030 and to find better long term solutions for refugees and displaced people."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016.

Governments and humanitarian agencies agreed on a grand bargain to cut the cost of administering aid by nearly $1 billion a year, and make sure that more of that funding goes to help people in crisis.

At the summit, 21 donor countries and 16 aid organisations agreed to decrease overheads and help fill an estimated $15 billion annual funding gap in order to provide it to more than 125 million people who are in urgent need.

It's expected that the new approach will create "a virtuous circle, drawing in more resources" from a wider range of donors.

According to the UN Secretary General, the deal would enable improved humanitarian response to conflicts and natural disasters.

"It should lead to faster action, better engagement with people affected by crises, more funding for national organisations, greater efficiency and more accountability," he said at the launch event in Istanbul.

"These are all fundamental to improving support for the people we serve."

The US, Britain, Germany, France and Japan, who supported the bargain, will follow its implementation.

Governments and humanitarian agencies represented at the summit agreed that they would assess required needs in the case of a disaster and provide supplies accordingly without relying on an outside analysis.

Backdropped by a projected picture of refugees, actors perform during the opening ceremony of the World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016.
Backdropped by a projected picture of refugees, actors perform during the opening ceremony of the World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016.

Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, supported the bargain because it would provide 25 percent of humanitarian funding directly to local and national agencies by 2020.

"There is a recognition of those who are on the frontline. They're in places where there is no doctor, no school, where women have to walk the last mile to the water point, often paved with danger."

According to World Vision International head, Kevin Smith, the bargain will not solve all the problems related to the aid system, but it is "a serious and realistic way forward."

"Making change will cost, but staying the same will cost more," he added.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies