Not a Total Failure

There was a humanitarian summit in Istanbul recently, the first of its kind, and there are those who ask whether or not it failed. They were supposed to raise funds towards the huge humanitarian crisis unfolding with victims of conflicts, natural disasters and refugees, all told 130 million people, and were not able to meet their goal. One of the reasons being that participants were not sure the money would be spent as intended to help those suffering. Another was how the money collected would be distributed, some for example objected to a large portion being distributed through NGOs. The summit also failed to address the breaches of international law, and the lack of regard for existing pacts and treaties, for example about refugees. Not surprisingly, no solution to the growing refugee problem was set forth, since the countries attending were not willing to sign up to receive more refugees. The summit was however able to draw attention to the problems engendered by the crisis and generate attention as well towards the need for solutions. Representatives or leaders from 173 countries attended, although the leaders of the richest countries—safe for Angela Merkel—did not, raising concerns about how serious they were. And yet besides a wake up call, the summit did not end without some accomplishments. They made a deal to give disaster victims cash payments instead of vouchers and agreed that aid agencies need to be more transparent. Something else was set in motion, a $3.8bil initiative to raise money to educate the millions of children from Syria, Sudan and other conflict ridden countries who are not able to go to school and whose future could be unbearable without education.
It’s easy to point to the failures of this summit, perhaps failures reflecting why there has been inaction for so long about refugees and . Regardless, the fact it occurred at all ought to be underlined and not forgotten.