By Ilgin Karlidag & Handan Kazanci
ISTANBUL (AA) – The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit begins in Istanbul on Monday, where leaders will make commitments on how to respond to what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the worst global humanitarian situation since World War II.
The summit comes as the Syrian civil war enters its sixth year, as Europe is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, and as global social inequality has reached a peak amid a rising population.
Hosted by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, world leaders of UN member states, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are gathering in Turkey’s largest city on Monday and Tuesday.
During the summit, attended by 125 of the UN’s 193 member states, at least 50 heads of government will announce several commitments to reduce humanitarian disasters.
These include: preventing and ending conflict; respecting the rules of war; addressing forced displacement; achieving gender equality; responding to climate change; ending the need for aid; and investing in humanity.
In 2014, the UN reported that around $540 million of the roughly $135 billion global aid budget was spent on reducing disaster risk. UN leader Ban is expected to push for an increase in world spending on reducing disaster risk at the summit in Turkey, which is one of the world’s most generous aid donors.
Turkey ranked third in the list of countries with the most international humanitarian work in 2012 and 2013, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TIKA, says in its Turkish Development Assistance 2013 report – the latest such figures from the agency.
According to another 2013 Global Humanitarian Assistance report, the top five donors were the U.S. with $3.8 billion, followed by EU institutions ($1.9 billion), the U.K. ($1.2 billion), Turkey ($1.0 billion) and Sweden with $784 million.
Hosting almost 3 million Syrian refugees, Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion on caring for them since the start of the Syrian crisis.