Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at a humanitarian summit in Istanbul on Monday called for a comprehensive approach to dealing with humanitarian crises in the world, saying that Croatia could contribute significantly based on the experience gained in the 1991-95 war.
About 125 million people in the world live on humanitarian aid today, there are more refugees and displaced persons than ever, and a comprehensive, holistic approach is the only way to successfully deal with those crises, including the current migrant crisis, Grabar-Kitarovic said at a plenary which drew 70 heads of state and government from all over the world.
She underlined the importance of development aid, saying that does not mean investing only in material but human resources too, such as education and the fight against inequality and every extremism.
We often talk about the problems we have, but very little is being done to eliminate them. We must finally take action and deal with all sources of crisis , Grabar-Kitarovic said. She added that Croatia, regardless of its size and economic power, could do a lot because of the 1991-95 war.
Speaking to the press after the address, the president said she was approached by many participants who had been to Vukovar, eastern Croatia.
"They said that Croatia had a strong and credible voice in all this because we went through the same or very similar problems which societies at war are facing. Today we can help others through the experience we gained in the Homeland War and during reconciliation as well as through technical assistance. We can contribute much more than one would expect in relation to our geographical size."
Asked if this summit would lead to action and concrete agreements, Grabar-Kitarovic said many states committed to donating money for refugees and everyone in need of financial aid.
"However, it's not enough to just offer financial aid and appease one's conscience for inaction. We must do a lot more to stop the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. I think we can do that, but that requires dialogue, it's necessary to cross the borders which separate us ideologically or in any other way, and to show strong leadership."
The first UN World Humanitarian Summit is taking place today and tomorrow in Turkey, given that that country has received a several million refugees fleeing the war in Syria. The summit was convened at the initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, drawing representatives of 180 countries out of a total of 193 UN member states.