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Event date: May 23-24

Next month UN member states will convene in Turkey to address what the UN has called the greatest global humanitarian crisis since World War II. Today, more than 60 million people have been driven from their homes by violent conflicts or natural disasters, stretching the capacities of UN agencies and charities past their breaking points. The epicenter has been Syria, whose refugees are overwhelming fleeing to Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and testing the solidarity of the European Union. Millions of others have been displaced in Iraq, South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Mali, and other hot spots, leading to unprecedented shortfalls in emergency assistance. In response, the UN is requesting a record $20 billion in humanitarian aid, five times the amount needed a decade ago.

In Istanbul, UN member states should rededicate themselves to abide by the asylum principles of the 1951 Refugee Convention, mobilize nontraditional donors (including the Gulf states and China) to fund the humanitarian appeal, and link humanitarian aid to longer-term development efforts in protracted emergencies. This is an ambitious agenda. Fortunately, UN member states will get a second opportunity to advance it in September in New York, where President Obama plans to host another high-level refugee summit.

The Nuclear Security Summit | UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem | World Humanitarian Summit | Group of Seven Summit | Group of Twenty Summit | Habitat III | Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

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