UN Launches Commitment to Action at WHS: Moving from Delivering Aid to Ending Need

Turkey – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, OCHA, WFP, FAO, UNFPA and UNDP, with the endorsement of the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration, launched today a “Commitment to Action” in which they agreed to put in place a new way of working in crises that will aim to not only meet humanitarian needs but also reduce them over time.

This commitment marks a breakthrough solution to the decades-old humanitarian and development divide that has hampered progress for millions of acutely vulnerable people caught up in protracted crises the world over.

Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator said: “The humanitarian imperative extends all the way to reducing vulnerability and ending need. This commitment for action is a bold new way of working for the development and humanitarian communities to work to deliver results to the most vulnerable people together”.

Helen Clark, the UNDP Administrator, speaking on behalf of the UN Development System said: “Whether in preventing crises, or working to mitigate, recover and rebuild after devastation strikes, efforts to strengthen local institutions and services and strengthening local ownership in rebuilding and fast recovery, must be our shared aim, in both saving lives and ensuring progress.”

By signing on, agencies are committing to work together to meet needs, reduce vulnerabilities and manage crisis risks better, as called for in the Secretary-General’s ‘Agenda for Humanity’.

By taking this Commitment to Action, UN agencies have taken a step towards delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind” by putting the furthest behind at the forefront of their collective efforts.

The new way of working will involve operating over multi-year timeframes and playing to the individual strengths of each agency involved to achieve collective outcomes for the most vulnerable people.

This new approach is not about shifting development funding into humanitarian programmes or vice versa. Rather, it sets out to forge new partnerships, including with the private sector, multilateral development banks and national NGOs to both generate new resources and use existing resources more strategically.

To set in motion this new way of working, directly after the World Humanitarian Summit, agencies will share their data relating to vulnerability; undertake joint analysis of needs and response; and collaborate on planning and programming, backed up by financing and stronger leadership.

The Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said: “Our commitment today will include such action as pooled and combined data and analysis; joined-up planning and programming; and new financing modalities to support collective outcomes.”

Signed on 23 May 2016 at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul by*:

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization

Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme

Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund

Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund

Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

*and endorsed by the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration

For further information, please contact: Tomas de Mul on