ISTANBUL, 23 May 2016:  Pakistan has highlighted its contributions to humanitarian causes and shared its perspective on global humanitarian issues at the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) being held in Istanbul.

Convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and hosted by Government of Turkey, the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) is taking place on 23-24 May 2016. A large number of world leaders including Heads of States and Governments, representatives of humanitarian and development agencies and civil society organizations have gathered in Istanbul for reaffirming commitment to humanitarian principles and crafting a response to the  unprecedented humanitarian challenges confronting the world today.

Pakistan’s delegation to the WHS is led by Lt. General (R) Abdul Quadir Baloch, Minister for SAFRON. Addressing the Summit’s Plenary Session this afternoon, the Minister highlighted Pakistan’s immense contributions to the humanitarian causes as one of the world’s largest refugee hosting nations while demonstrating immense resilience in the face of recurring natural disasters.

In the context of prevention and resolution of conflicts, the Minister underscored Pakistan’s commitment to the purposes and objectives of the UN charter and stressed the importance of resolving longstanding disputes, particularly those on the agenda of United Nations Security Council.

The Minister also highlighted that Pakistan has been one of the largest contributors of United Nations Peace Keeping troops, and Pakistan’s troops have sacrificed their lives for the cause of humanity.

The Minister urged the international community to ensure that protracted refugee situations are not neglected in the wake of new crises. He also stressed the urgent need to find equitable burden sharing mechanisms for refugee hosting nations. The Minister underscored the importance and centrality of the UNGA Resolution 46/182 of December 1991 for humanitarian action.

The Minister underscored Pakistan’s commitment to cope with the negative fall out of climate change and highlighted the need for availability of adequate finance as the ’core of the battle’ against the adverse impacts of climate change.

On the sidelines of the Summit, the Minister had a bilateral meeting with the head of the UNHCR Delegation Deputy High Commissioner Kelly T. Clements.  During the meeting, the Minister hoped for early voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees. Ms. Kelly Clements appreciated the Government and people of Pakistan for having generously hosted the world’s largest protracted refugee population for nearly four decades. She assured that the UNHCR would continue supporting the Government of Pakistan in its efforts hosting Afghan refugees and would urge for concreted support of the international community in this context.

Earlier, the Minister visited NDMA’s exhibition on the theme "Resilient Pakistan", showcasing Pakistan’s experiences in disaster management and disaster risk reduction.

The Minister also visited "Innovation Marketplace" where NADRA had setup a stall to project Pakistan’s innovative financial compensation programmed for victims of natural disasters, especially 2010 floods.

Besides governmental participation in the Summit, a number humanitarian and civil society organizations are attending the WHS.