Statement by Foreign Minister Steinmeier at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul

23.05.2016 - Press release

Today, all players active in the area of humanitarian assistance have come together for the first time at the initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon. In view of the large number of current crises and conflicts, the greatest refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War and the fact that 125 million people depend on the help of the United Nations, this meeting is more urgent than ever before. What needs to be done?

First, we have to ensure that international aid organisations have a reliable basis for their work and do not have to worry constantly about how they will get through the next month. Every unavailable euro means that a child or adult has to go hungry or is left without a roof over their head. The international community as a whole is called to show solidarity. Germany is setting a good example in this respect. In recent years we have dramatically increased our humanitarian assistance. This year we are the third‑largest donor with 1.3 billion euros, and at the London Summit were actually the largest donor with pledges of 2.3 billion euros. This made it possible to ensure sufficient rations this year for the people suffering as a result of the civil war in Syria.

Second: assistance for people in need must be available immediately and reliably. In emergency situations there simply isn’t time or space for complicated coordination processes! Specifically, that means moving away from merely reactive assistance and towards programmes planned with foresight and financed for several years. Against this backdrop, the strengthening of the Central Emergency Response Fund is a wise approach. Today I have pledged that Germany will increase its contribution for this year by ten million euros to a total of 50 million euros.

Third: the best kind of assistance is assistance that avoids the need for flight in the first place. At the Federal Foreign Office we have made many adjustments in recent years to ensure that crisis prevention, stabilisation and post‑conflict peacebuilding can be dovetailed more closely. We have been able to gain crucial experience in Iraq: after IS were driven out of Tikrit, 90% of people were able to return to their home town as a result of our help. To date 600,000 people in Iraq have now been able to return to their homes. We are also supporting the health care system in cities such as Aleppo and Idlib in northern Syria, under very difficult circumstances. We are building hospitals and helping doctors and medical personnel to continue their work. We want to use the Summit to anchor our stabilisation approach even more firmly in the international agenda.

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