ISTANBUL, 23rd May, 2016 (WAM) – The First World Humanitarian Summit began today afternoon in the Turkish city of Istanbul amid presence of heads of state and governments from more than 70 countries, and 6,000 officials of international humanitarian bodies.

The event is a platform to discuss problems, solutions and ways of co-ordination in the field of humanitarian aid in light of the rampant humanitarian crisis in the world, and the worsening refugee crisis.

It focusses on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Palestine, Myanmar, and ways to deliver humanitarian aid to those affected in the conflict areas in these countries. The summit is also an opportunity to discuss ways to combat the Ebola epidemic.

The UAE, represented by Minister of State Dr. Maytha bint Salem Al Shamsi, told Sky News Arabia in an exclusive interview that the attendance at the summit “is part of the state’s strategy to improve the level of humanitarian services.”

She noted that the UAE is looking forward to more co-operation at the level of international organisations through setting up a plan of action for humanitarian work.

The UAE minister revealed activation of the “Humanitarian Impact Fund” in 2017, indicating that this fund will mobilise the private sector to finance the humanitarian action.

She stressed that the UAE will continue developing strategies and mechanisms of action to get the humanitarian work to a required level, which is part of deliberate and well-thought out plans and strategies.

The UAE minister commended the role of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the initiatives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as well as the continuous efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to advance the humanitarian action at a global level.

She referred to the establishment of a refugee centre in Greece for displaced Syrians as per the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the instructions of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.

The summit is an initiative first proposed by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, in January 2012 to ensure countries, organisations and relief workers come together to address global humanitarian crises.

The two-day event is the first of its kind, and aims to improve the distribution of aid, and how the world reacts to crises better.