World Humanitarian Summit – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Istanbul, May 23 to 24, 2016)

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I welcome the holding of the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul from May 23 to 24. The French delegation is being led by Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs.

André Vallini, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, will notably take part in meetings on the initiative taken by Gordon Brown, whom the UN secretary-general has tasked with implementing a specific mechanism for education in situations of crisis.

While crises are increasing humanitarian needs every day and 60 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes, this summit should enable the international community to develop a new road map for international humanitarian action. It will provide an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the protection of civilians, to strengthen the link between humanitarian assistance and development and to better respond to the consequences of natural disasters and climate disruption, in follow-up to our mobilization in support of COP21.

Today, 80% of humanitarian action is conducted in the context of armed conflict, a situation that is affecting an increasing number of civilians, especially children. France is mobilized on the ground and within the international forums to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians. To that end, I will chair a public debate at the UN Security Council on June 10 in New York on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping operations. France will also host an international conference in 2017 to promote the protection of children in armed conflict, 10 years after the adoption of the “Paris Principles and Commitments.”