World Humanitarian Summit

The World Humanitarian Summit, held on 23-24 May 2016, was a unique opportunity for humanity to come together and discuss how to reduce suffering and deliver better help for people affected by crises around the globe. Convened by the United Nations’ then Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, it brought together governments, international institutions and civil society organisations in Istanbul – more than 9,000 participants in all. It was the first such event in the UN’s 70-year history. From it came more than 3,000 commitments by those involved, all aimed at improving the humanitarian system. Start Network made key pledges of its own – and on the first anniversary of the summit is close to delivering them all.


Read about what Start Network said and how we have done below

Start Network was among the many civil society organisations at the summit, and took a leading role in making the case for change. 


It argued that, in a more turbulent and uncertain world, people everywhere desire the ability to respond to the suffering of their neighbours in times of humanitarian crises. Today’s escalating and changing humanitarian needs demand a move from the out-dated, top-down system set up 70 years ago to a wider approach that involves all of society in every country of the world – and includes the very communities directly affected by crises. That meant embracing the newly agreed Grand Bargain, in which more than 30 of the biggest donors and aid providers agreed to improve the way they fund humanitarian response, to make aid more streamlined, more transparent, more effective and more predictable.


A key element of the Grand Bargain was a commitment that at least 25 per cent of humanitarian funding would go as directly as possible to local and national responders by 2020. Start Network was already leading for change in humanitarian aid and had long been committed to a radically refashioned system. At the summit it made nine key practical pledges for the year ahead, under three broad headings that it called its own Grand Bargain with the future:


1. Humanitarian financing solution

The Start Fund will be the go-to mechanism for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and donors because it delivers practical solutions to the systemic challenges identified by the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, and in particular on the Grand Bargain.

2. Transforming humanitarian action

                   Start Engage will continue working with all parts of society to tackle the increasing scale                       of humanitarian crises.


3. Exploring and developing new financial mechanisms
Start Labs will continue to support the development and piloting of new solutions to enable earlier, faster and more effective response to humanitarian crises.

SEAN LOWRIE ON THE ANNIVERSARY: A year after the world made 3,000 commitments, change is is needed more urgently than ever


Start Network's Commitments to the WHS: How have we done?