UN Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.jpg
Photograph: EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

On 23 -24 May world leaders, including Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, are meeting in Istanbul in an effort to seek efficient methods to address humanitarian crises around the world, faced with the largest displacement of refugees since the Second World War.

The first UN World Humanitarian Summit is taking place in Istanbul, given that Turkey has received a few millions of refugees fleeing the war in Syria.

The summit has been convened at the initiative of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Representative of 180 countries out of a total of 193 UN members have come to Istanbul for this occasion. As many as 70 UN members have sent their heads of state or government, and one of them is Croatia's Grabar-Kitarovic.

Apart from those state officials, an additional 6,000 participants who are activists or representatives of humanitarian organisations and companies' executives have also gathered in Istanbul, and about 800 reporters are covering the two-day summit.

The event, opened by Secretary-General Ban on Monday morning, will focus on global political commitments and concrete actions to make humanitarian action more inclusive of all people who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons such as wars, armed conflicts or natural disasters.

According to United Nations estimates. humanitarian needs have risen by 22.6 billion dollars in the past 15 years.

One of the topics of the Istanbul summit is innovative approach to financing humanitarian needs.

Croatian President Grabar-Kitarovic arrived in Turkey on Sunday at the invitation by UN Secretary-General Ban and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and participated in a closed-door summit meeting of heads of state or governments on Monday morning, organised within the summit.

Grabar-Kitarovic is expected to deliver speeches at the opening ceremony as well as at the High-Level Leaders’ Roundtable on "Political Leadership to Prevent and End Conflicts" and the High-Level Leaders’ Roundtable “Women and Girls: Catalyzing Action to Achieve Gender Equality”

The objective of the latter roundtable which Grabar-Kitarovic is co-chairing is to have leaders demonstrate decisive leadership and assume responsibility for meeting the needs of women and girls in crisis settings. After decades of insufficient action, stakeholders are expected to use the Summit to focus world attention on the unacceptable exclusion of women and girls in decision-making in many crisis settings.

Apart from 17 roundtable discussions, over 100 side events are scheduled during the summit which has also brought together executives of 345 companies from the world.

The World Organisation has reported on its web site that "World Humanitarian Summit will be 'wake-up call' for action and 'launch pad' for new initiatives".

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