The Welcome Reception for the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit was hosted by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey and DEİK on 22 May 2016 in Istanbul
At the event, hosted by the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Naci Koru, and DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan, and attended by the Deputy UN Secretary General, Jan Elliasson, prominent names of the Turkish business community signed a statement prepared by DEİK which underlines the business community's sensitivity for humanitarian issues and its role in the prevention of and intervention in humanitarian crises. The representatives of the Turkish business community further declared their commitment to share. Among the guests at the invitation was the British Bond actor, Daniel Craig.
The event held on 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul was the first "World Humanitarian Summit". It was attended by almost 5,000 guests. Its purpose was to develop an agenda for future humanitarian aid efforts and to find solutions for the problems faced by the current global humanitarian system.
In the words of Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Elliasson the disasters the world is living through have made mankind more sensitive for humanitarian issues. The current event, he said, was not so much an exercise in talking about important issues but in taking action on them. The message sent from Istanbul to the world was: take precautionary measures. Pointing out the fact that representatives of civil society and leading members of the business community had come together for the same purpose, and were equally desirous to find solutions, Elliasson emphasised the direct relationship between humanitarian activity and development. The slogan of the summit was after all: "One Humanity, Shared Responsibility". The future is our horizon, our vision, Elliasson said, but at the same time only one step forward. However, to take that step was as important as having a vision.
In his address at the Welcome Reception, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Ambassador Naci Koru, emphasised the importance of holding this Summit in Turkey at such a critical moment in time for the whole world. Stressing the fact that Turkey had accepted more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world, he drew attention to the significant role played by the business community in fighting crises and in the post-crisis situation. For this contribution he expressed his gratitude.
DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan also spoke of the important role played by the Turkish business community. "I say this," he continued", both in may capacity as president of DEİK, one of the biggest and most comprehensive organisations of the Turkish private sector, and as a businessman: We are committed to humanitarian efforts." The business community had to be prepared for crises before they happen, and to alleviate them once they occur. In the words of the DEİK president, business played a significant role as producer and provider for human needs. He felt encouraged by its ever more effective contribution in preventing humanitarian crises and in intervening in them. Over the last 10 years, record numbers of people had to leave their homes due to wars and natural disasters. In the face of this humanitarian crisis, the business community is aware of its responsibilities, he said, "because we are committed to it".
After the speeches at the Welcome Reception, Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru and DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan handed over to UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Elliasson the Statement of Commitment to the Humanitarian Cause signed by DEİK's Board of Directors members.
Text of the DEİK statement:
Commitment to the Humanitarian Cause
We are committed to the humanitarian cause
On the occasion of this historic first "World Humanitarian Summit", we, the representatives of the Turkish business community, declare our commitment to one humanity and our shared responsibility.
The business community is developing into an important player in crisis intervention and post-crisis reconstruction.
We are committed
- to the Humanitarian Agenda issued by the UN Secretary General
- in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goal, to the principles of access and empowerment
- in the event of humanitarian crisis, within the scope of the basic values that govern the private sector, to make available to all stakeholders its competencies, capacities, experience and innovations
- to strengthening our cooperation with governments and civil society in the preparation for and intervention in crises
- in the areas of risk management, good governance, job creation, transparency and accountability, to invest in the future of mankind.
We, the Turkish business community, are aware of our responsibility to create solutions in the face of crises affecting humanity,
because we are committed to the humanitarian cause.