Turkish NGOs Say Istanbul Summit Must Deliver

As the first-ever international humanitarian summit is only a week away, Turkey's leading aid organizations are focusing on the need to "localize aid" with "stronger local actors".

As Istanbul gets ready to host the World Humanitarian Summit between May 23-24, Anadolu Agency spoke to domestic NGOs who say empowering local communities is the best way to cope with disasters.

Head of the Turkish Red Crescent, Kerem Kinik, says if local humanitarian aid groups are not strengthened “communities will be more open to disasters”.

"Aid made by larger international organizations in local places is not sustainable and results in very high costs." Kinik says reform of the humanitarian aid system is needed, describing it as "reshaping aid".

"A draft final report to be shared by the UN at the end of the summit is almost ready," Kinik says. "We do not expect a radical change, but it is a significant summit which will only focus on humanitarian issues. It will also be an opportunity to tell the world Turkey's way of humanitarian aid."

The summit will feature a number of high-level leaders’ round-table talks, as well as briefings, seminars, workshops, panel discussions and an exhibition fair. During two days, around 5,000 participants – global leaders from government, business, aid organizations, affected communities, faith-based organizations, international and national NGOs, and academia – will meet.

Each organization is expected to bring its own agenda to the world summit. Among these are Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) and the Support To Life aid agency. "Localization of humanitarian assistance" is of top priority for these two groups which have been actively involved in the preparatory phases leading up to the summit, starting with the first regional consultation in June 2014 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.