You may have seen the United Nations Foundation talking about the World Humanitarian Summit lately. So what exactly is it? 


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit from May 23-24, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The summit is an important opportunity for leaders from around the world to come together to renew our commitment to humanity and to advance solutions for strengthening humanitarian preparedness and response.


The summit will include participation from thousands of leaders from governments, businesses, aid organizations, civil society, and affected communities.


Right now, more than 125 million people around the world are in need of humanitarian assistance and roughly 60 million have been displaced from their homes, the highest level since World War II. Humanitarian needs have far outpaced resources, and it is clear more focus is needed on how to better help people in crisis. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, “The World Humanitarian Summit is a singular opportunity to stand together and to deliver a message that we will not accept the erosion of humanity which we see in the world today.”


Discussions at the summit will focus on “how to effectively respond to major humanitarian challenges and how to be better prepared to meet challenges of the future.” There will also be an innovation marketplace, an exhibition fair, and a number of side events to focus on the range of challenges and solutions that need attention. 

Here are some of the best ways to get connected to the World Humanitarian Summit: 

Here are some great resources to give you a deeper dive into why the World Humanitarian Summit is important and the issues that will be discussed:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Agenda for Humanity for the World Humanitarian Summit: In this report 

Too important to fail – addressing the humanitarian financing gap,” by the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing Report to the Secretary-General: This report provides recommendations from a high-level panel on how to better mobilize resources to address humanitarian needs.

Reaffirming our Commitment to Humanity: 5 Key Issues Ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit,” by Kaysie Brown, UN Foundation blog: Brown provides an overview of the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Humanity and key humanitarian issues that need to be addressed.

6 Reasons You Should Care About (Yet) Another International Summit,” by Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Assistant Secretary General and UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Assistant Administrator, The Huffington Post: Nakamitsu, who leads the UNDP’s Crisis Response Unit, provides compelling reasons why the world should pay attention to the World Humanitarian Summit.

 Solutions to the world’s problems: Choose humanity,” by Hervé Verhoosel, UN World Humanitarian Summit Spokesperson, LA Times: In this piece, Verhoosel details why the summit is so important and the Secretary-General’s priorities in his agenda for humanity.

The Growing Need for Humanitarian Aid Means We Must Find a New Approach to Development,” by Kristalina Georgieva, Co-Chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing and Vice President of the European Commission, and Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, The Guardian: This co-authored op-ed discusses the relationship between present-day humanitarian crises and the new development goals, arguing that addressing these crises is a prerequisite of sustainable development.

“A Critical Year for Humanitarianism,” by John Norris and Carolyn Kenney, Center for American Progress: This issue brief outlines major humanitarian moments in 2016 and the scope of our challenges.