A local perspective at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul

Istanbul hosted the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit on 23 and 24 May, with over 6,000 participants representing 173 countries, 55 Heads of State and Government and around one hundred local and regional leaders.

On this occasion, the summit recommended and adopted five core actions to improve the situation throughout the world:


  1. Strong commitment by political leaders to prevent and resolve conflicts;
  2. Strict respect for the norms and regulations which govern humanitarian action;
  3. Giving special attention to the most vulnerable (women, children and other groups in crisis situations), displaced persons and refugees;
  4. Changing and improving people's lives by delivering aid to end needs through development strategies;
  5. Investing in humanity: increasing financing in order to meet needs through innovative partnership mechanisms.

UCLG ensured a high-level participation at the World Humanitarian Summit, with the attendance of UCLG President and Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş, and a large number of local leaders from various regions of the world.

In the plenary session, Kadir Topbaş and Seifallah Lasram, Mayor of Tunis (Tunisia), Hyacinthe Wodobodé, Mayor of Bangui (Central African Republic), Rob Metz, Mayor of Soest (Netherlands) and Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, Mayor of Tevra-Zeina (Mauritania) presented the commitments made by local and regional governments, which include:

  • support for local governments' leadership and political commitment at all stages of a crisis in order to stop conflict from arising or resuming;
  • Commitment for action on the root causes of conflict and to work to reduce the fragility of cities by investing in the development of inclusive and peaceful societies;
  • Commitment to highlight the successes of local public policies and territorial diplomacy strategies for preventing conflict by consolidating and sharing good practices and lessons learnt;
  • Promotion – among UCLG members in all regions of the world and particularly in areas in which certain countries experience structural weaknesses – of the culture of peace and coexistence among communities;
  • Strengthening the role of local governments in promoting peace and stability and in preventing and resolving violent conflict, including through advocacy, exchanging good practices and peer learning.

These activities will be promoted in our organization through the work of the Committee on Development Cooperation and City Diplomacy, the Taskforce on Disaster Response and within the framework of the Global Alliance for Urban Crises.

Adapting Global Crisis Response to an Urban World: Launch of the Global Alliance for Urban Crises

Kadir Topbaş, alongside Joan Clos, the Executive Director of UN Habitat, David Milliband​, the former British Foreign Affairs Minister and other leaders and figures, also took part in the launch of the Global Alliance for Urban Crises.

This platform, which brings together a number of partners and, notably, United Nations agencies and humanitarian actors, is intended to be a place for collaboration and action in which local governments will have a role to play through the presence of UCLG, which was involved in the formation of this structure that combines humanitarian relief and development.

A number of other activities took place, including the Mayors' Focus Session on migration chaired by Kadir Topbaş, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Executive Director of UN Habitat.

The UCLG Taskforce organised a number of activities and, in particular, an event during which the results of a study conducted on five cities in crisis situations were presented. This study was carried out in partnership with the IMPACT Initiatives NGO.