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World Humanitarian Summit brings together world leaders in Istanbul

Ministry for Foreign AffairsMinistry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 19.5.2016 10.25
Press release 69

The first-ever international humanitarian aid summit, led by the UN, will be held on 23 and 24 May in Istanbul. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka and Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Mäntylä will attend the meeting.

The initiative for the World Humanitarian Summit came from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The need for humanitarian aid is greater than ever before and the international community is unable to respond to these needs. At present, around 80% of the need for assistance stems from conflicts. Moreover, needs generated by extreme weather conditions caused by climate change are increasing too.  

'The global humanitarian situation cannot stay this way. We need closer international cooperation and stronger political intention to improve the situation. Finland wants to join in furthering such a change', says Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, leader of the Finnish delegation.

'Discussion about the need to reshape humanitarian aid is more topical than ever, because demands are record high and the resources of traditional donors are insufficient to meet the demand. The crisis in Syria, for example, cannot be resolved without political solutions. Equally, we must consider how to provide humanitarian aid more effectively. This is where Finnish knowhow and innovative Finnish enterprises can contribute', says Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka.

Special needs of vulnerable groups on the agenda
At the summit, the participating countries will be affirming their commitment to change humanitarian action. Finland's commitments involve for instance peace mediation, addressing the needs of people with disabilities and meeting the needs of women and girls in crisis settings. In addition, Finland and Australia together with international organisations for people with disabilities are holding a special session on the rights of those with disabilities in humanitarian crises.

'It is paramount in humanitarian operations to safeguard the special needs of women, children and other vulnerable groups, in particular. It is vital that health care systems function properly even before any crisis has erupted, because robust health care systems can alleviate the repercussions of catastrophies considerably. In conflict situations this means that all parties must respect international humanitarian rights governing hospitals, for instance', noted Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Mäntylä.

Over 6,000 participants are expected to attend the summit. There will be state leaders, UN organisations, NGOs and business enterprises. A Team Finland business delegation from Finland will participate in the meeting, consisting of BMSE/BM Group, Elisa, Funzi, Human Security Finland / Kuopio Innovation, Kara-Sawsystems, Metsi, RK-Housing and Finn Church Aid.

Finland has so far contributed EUR 53.9 million to humanitarian aid this year, most of which is channelled through various organisations such as the UN, the Red Cross, the Red Crescent Movement and Finnish NGOs. The support is granted from Finland's development cooperation appropriations earmarked for humanitarian aid purposes. A substantial amount of the resources are allocated to Syria and its neighbouring areas.

More information on the summit
Finland's humanitarian aid
Migration and refugee crisis in Europe: How Finland supports crises in 2016  


Prime Minister Sipilä's programme: Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen, Special Adviser (International Affairs), tel. +358 040 841 3867 and on media arrangements Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office

Minister Toivakka's programme: Inquiries: Claus Jerker Lindroos, Director, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Humanitarian Assistance Policy, tel. +358 40 132 1416, [email protected] and Juha Kirstilä, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister (incl. press relations), tel. +358 40 552 8200, [email protected], Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Minister Mäntylä's programme: Ville Korhonen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 302 5505, [email protected], Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

Hanna Mäntylä Juha Sipilä Lenita Toivakka
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