Kyla Reid | GSMA | Mon, 23 May 2016 14:53:03 +0000

There are over 125 million men, women and children in need of humanitarian assistance in 2016. The scale of suffering we are witnessing around the world today has raised fundamental questions about whether our current approaches and institutions are capable of meeting this challenge. The first World Humanitarian Summit beginning today in Istanbul, called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon puts this question at center stage and aims to set a new agenda for the future of humanitarian response.

In Istanbul, over 5000 world leaders, business leaders and humanitarian and civil society organisations will come together to make new commitments and launch partnerships, aimed at building consensus and action to address five core areas that could have profound impacts on the future of humanitarian assistance: Prevent and end conflict, Respect the rules of war, Leave no one behind, Working differently to end need, Invest in humanity.

The Summit itself has not been without controversy and despite the two year consultative period in the run up, some critics remain skeptical as to its impact and inclusivity. The promise of the meetings in Istanbul is a reinvigorated global discourse and actions which will save lives and place the dignity of those impacted by crisis at the center of prevention and response efforts. The stakes are high, and the success of the summit will depend not only on the commitments made in Istanbul, but on collective efforts to put these into meaningful action.

One of the key themes of the summit is #ShareHumanity. Advances in technology and the ubiquity of mobile communication has ushered in a new way for the global community to interact and understand the suffering of others. It has provided new opportunities for affected communities to mobilise and respond, for humanitarian actors to engage, and offers improvements and efficiency gains in the delivery of assistance. However there is still a long way to go before we can say that the digitization of aid has yielded the transformative potential it promises.

For that reason, building on the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter, which unites over 60 mobile industry players in over 50 countries around a shared set of principles to improve preparedness and response capacity, the GSMA is announcing its commitment to provide advisory support on the opportunities and challenges of mobile cash disbursements in humanitarian settings. (Read more)

The mobile industry has played a leading role in delivering life-saving services to those who need it most. Mobile operators such as Turkcell, Ooredoo, Vodafone and Axiata have invested and innovated to create solutions and services before, during and after disaster strikes. The WHS offers an opportunity to reflect on the achievements made by our mobile operator members, reaffirm our commitment to improving our ability to respond and to identify new areas where mobile technology can have a profound impact on the lives of those affected by crisis.

To stay involved in the Summit, follow @GSMAM4D, @WHSummit #ShareHumanity

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