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OAS Hosts Regional Consultation of United Nations System “Toward the Global Humanitarian Summit”

  November 26, 2014

The Organization of American States (OAS) today hosted at its headquarters in Washington DC, a regional consultation of the United Nations system under the title “Toward the Global Humanitarian Summit,” as part of the preparatory process for the Summit that will be held in 2016 in Turkey, which seeks to strengthen capacity and coordination of the international mechanisms for humanitarian assistance.

Representing the General Secretariat of the OAS, the Director of the Department of Sustainable Development of the OAS, Cletus Springer explained the mandates that the member states have given the Organization to support national efforts in assistance in disasters. “One of these is theInter-American Convention to Facilitate Disaster Assistance. We consider this Convention to be unique around the world,” he said.” The convention, said Springer “sets out some very clear norms of behavior, norms of channeling disaster assistance from donor countries to recipient countries.” In addition, Springer echoed the made by the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin, for member states to sign and ratify the Convention, which in his judgment “would create a great deal of order and structure in the process through which disaster assistance is channeled.”

Director Springer also mentioned as one of the instruments of the OAS the Inter-American Plan for Disaster Prevention and Response and Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, adopted by the General Assembly in 2009. “In our move toward the summit in 2016 in Turkey, we are making ourselves available to our member state to provide whatever technical support we can and to help them organize themselves for more effective participation in this conference,” which he called a “very significant event.”

Darío Álvarez, Representative of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), emphasized the need to listen to not only the main actors in humanitarian assistance, but also the people affected by the disasters. “I invite you to have a broad conversation. This is by no means a position you must adopt, but an exercise in which ideas can be questioned, through which we are looking for progress in the thinking about the resolution of humanitarian problems.”

The OCHA representative explained that the path to the Summit includes eight regional consultations, as well as technical consultations. Among the issues to be debated by the working groups during the consultation, Álvarez mentioned humanitarian efficiency, reduction of vulnerability and risk management, transformation through innovation and the importance of meeting the needs of at risk populations.

The United Nations Secretary General will convene the Humanitarian Global Summit in Istanbul in 2016, with the objective of looking for new ways to address humanitarian needs in an ever-changing world. The three year initiative is being managed by OCHA.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-516/14