The World Humanitarian Summit will meet in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May 2016

Friday, December 11, 2015, briefing session of the permanent missions in Geneva : it’s appeared some dismay of diplomats and humanitatrian.

Concern among diplomats, who are asked to convince their Heads of State and Government to come to the summit without knowing what their role will be.Concern among Humanitarian about the events that seemed acquired and appear suddenly lose their substance.

The Order of Malta has raised the question of “Global Religious Forum” (World Religious Forum) that the Secretariat of the Global Humanitarian Summit planned to hold at the eve of the Summit, in Istanbul, 22 May. Receiving no public response, we went to discuss the new head of OCHA, the Britich Stephen O’Brien, and the new Director of the Secretariat of the Global Humanitarian Summit, the French Antoine Gerard. One and the other showed a certain distance with regard to this meeting, the second suggesting to postpone it after the Summit, somewhere else than Istanbul.

These reactions show that Valerie Amos successors at the head of OCHA and Jemillah Mahmood to head the Secretariat are no longer sharing the same beliefs and great enthusiasm of their predecessors. It also seems that Jemillah Mahmood, doctor Malaysian Muslim, educated in Christian schools, recognizes the value of inter-religious dialogue. She also led a humanitarian NGO in Malaysia. So it’s no surprise that she promoted the communities and local humanitarian organizations, often faith-based, in front of international humanitarian, United Nations system, international NGOs and assistance government agencies.

The Order of Malta established contacts these days in Geneva and New York looking for support of Governments, humanitarian organizations and faith-based organizations to maintain this “Global Religious Forum”.

It will be obviously difficult, a few days before Christmas, when the General Assembly concluded its work in New York and Geneva, just out of the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (we shall shortly return to it), immerse into two days of high-level dialogue on the root causes of refugees and migrants movements (“High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges. Understanding and Addressing root causes of displacement”) and in a special session of the Human Rights Council Thursday 17th on Burundi choose to focus on the Istanbul Summit in May.

Indeed, if the contacts made in Geneva and New York were inconclusive, it would without displeasure that the Order of Malta, with the support of the Holy See, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, d Other religious organizations and representatives of various religions, with the support of the United Nations in Geneva, would organize this World Religious Forum at the Palais des Nations in following the Symposium “Religions for all humanitarian”, which took place on May 27, 2015, and whose report “Religions Together for Humanitarian Action” is available online.


Deputy Permanent Observer
Mission of the Sovereign Military Ordre of Malta to the United Nation Office at Geneva