(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) The two-day World Humanitarian Summit, the first of its kind, officially kicked off on May 23 in Istanbul.
Turkish PresidentRecep Tayyip Erdoandelivered the opening speech of the summit with a focus on Turkey’ efforts on humanitarian and development aid.
Erdoan noted that Turkey was hosting more than 3 million Syrian and Iraqi migrants, pledging that the country would never close its doors on people and humanity regardless of their identities.
“We know very well that pain has no race, language and religion. With this understanding, Turkey conducts humanitarian and development aid in more than 140 countries of the world and realizes thousands of projects,” Erdoan said.
The president also said the current systems were insufficient in the face of humanity’s urgent problems, noting that only some countries were taking more than their fair share of the burden.
Accordingly, Erdoan urged all countries to shoulder responsibility on the issue.
He said the country had spent more than $10 billion on migrants while the international community’s contributions remained at $455 million.
World leaders from United Nations member states, includingGermanChancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam are in Istanbul for the summit.
During the summit, at least 50 heads of government will announce several commitments to reduce humanitarian disasters.
In 2014, the U.N. reported that around $540 million of the roughly $135 billion global aid budget was spent on decreasing disaster risk.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders to fix the gap in humanitarian funding and share the burden of helping people in need across the globe.
“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,” Ban said in his speech.
“I call on humanitarian organizations to work more closely together based on shared priorities to meet [the needs] of millions of people in crisis. 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 added.