July: Irish Humanitarian Summit
The Department’s Development Cooperation Division staged the first ever Irish Humanitarian Summit in Dublin on 2 July 2015. This Summit brought together different stakeholders involved in humanitarian action from Ireland to examine how we can better respond to the increasing number of complex emergencies globally and how we can ensure that our humanitarian assistance is as effective and collective as it can be.
President Michael D. Higgins opened the Summit and spoke about the growing demand for humanitarian support worldwide caused by disaster and conflict, with over 125 million people in need of urgent assistance. He called for greater humanity and attention to the dignity and rights of people and communities affected by humanitarian crises.
The Summit was also addressed by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan T.D. and then Minister of State for Development Cooperation Seán Sherlock T.D. and attended by two hundred and thirty senior representatives from the Irish Government, non-governmental organisations, academia, the private sector and the diaspora.
The core message to emerge from the Irish Humanitarian Summit was that the people affected by natural disasters and conflict should be at the centre of all humanitarian responses. Humanitarian action must assist people who are affected by crises to shape their own survival and recovery and responses should be locally-led where possible.
The Irish humanitarian community also reaffirmed continued commitment to humanitarian aid that is neutral, independent, impartial, and based on need.
The outcomes of the Summit included commitments to better target resources through local actors working to help affected communities, to build resilience in the face of recurrent disasters and to recognise that gender equality and the eradication of violence against women and children in emergencies must be prioritised in all humanitarian action.
The recommendations and proposed actions which emerged from the Irish Humanitarian Summit subsequently informed Ireland’s contribution to the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul in May 2016.