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Making children a priority at the World Humanitarian Summit

An SOS employee with a refugee child
An SOS employee with a refugee child

At the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, SOS Children’s Villages will be challenging world leaders to make children a priority in humanitarian action. The summit takes place in Istanbul on 23-24 May and aims to produce a more inclusive and diverse international aid system that is better able to prepare for, and respond to, crises.

In 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed the summit to help share knowledge and establish common best practices to deal with the increasing number of humanitarian crises around the world. According to the United Nations, 125 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and more than 60 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes – half of them are under the age of 18.

The summit will focus on five core responsibilities which should be at the centre of the humanitarian community's decision-making process:

  1. Preventing and ending conflict
  2. Respecting the rules of war
  3. Leaving no-one behind on the sustainable development agenda
  4. Working differently to end need
  5. Investing in humanity

SOS Children’s Villages will be among 5,000 representatives from humanitarian organisations and agencies, foundations and United Nations member states. Representatives will discuss pressing issues such as forced displacement, achieving gender equality, relief financing, increasing respect for International Humanitarian Law, and managing natural disaster and climate change.

Prioritising children

In collaboration with other child-focused organisations, SOS Children’s Villages will be co-hosting an event at the summit to present solutions for protecting children in crises. The event is titled “Leaving No Child Unprotected: Child Protection across the Development and Humanitarian Divide”.

SOS relief worker with a refugee child
Our team responds to emergencies and crises in the areas where we work to help protect child and their families

“To lay any claim to success, the WHS must prioritise the protection of the youngest and most vulnerable in today’s humanitarian emergencies. Children are the silent victims of conflicts and bear the brunt of separation, neglect, abuse and trauma. And yet, the future is theirs,” explains Carsten Völz, Chief Operating Officer of SOS Children’s Villages International.

When a disaster strikes, children and mothers are the most vulnerable. Representatives from SOS Children’s Villages will aim to raise awareness of the threats children and young people face in crises whilst also seeking lasting commitments to combat these threats. 

“The one certainty in humanitarian response is that early intervention is critical to successful aid, recovery and prevention. There are similarities in raising a child: from the start, it takes a commitment to care, a long-term investment in education, and giving children the space to grow and have a say in their future,” said Carsten Völz.

SOS Children’s Villages provides orphans and vulnerable children with a stable and positive family life in 125 countries.  As the world’s largest charity working with orphaned and abandoned children, SOS Children’s Villages is placed to respond to issues children face in an emergency.

In 2015, we provided loving homes to over 60,000 vulnerable children. Learn more about our work.