Our world is currently witnessing the highest level of human suffering since World War II.

125 million people worldwide require humanitarian assistance due to their lives being affected by violence and natural disasters. Over 60 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes – half of them are children. Yet in 2015, international aid funding was the lowest in a decade.

The global community is failing its most vulnerable members. Hence, this week’s inaugural World Humanitarian Summit could not come at a more crucial time.


Taking place in Istanbul from 23rd to 24th May, world leaders have been invited to come together to “stand up for our common humanity and take action to prevent and reduce human suffering”. The summit was initially proposed in 2012 by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as part of the action agenda for his second term in office. It is a global call to action to stakeholders to reform the basic principles of conceptualising, financing, and implementing humanitarian assistance in order to be able to effectively anticipate and respond to the crises of our time.

At the heart of the summit are five core responsibilities: #1 Prevent and end conflict, #2 Respect rules of war, #3 Leave no one behind, #4 Work differently to end need, #5 Invest in humanity. You can find out more about them here. Leaders will be encouraged to reaffirm their commitment to the universal legitimacy of humanitarian principles. They are also expected to initiate collective points of action in accordance with these core principles to alleviate and prevent global human suffering.

Use #ShareHumanity to join the conversation online or follow @WHSummit.

To mark this momentous event, we have put together a selection of our publishers’ titles that address many of the Summit’s agenda points:

Consequences of Chaos Leaving No-one Behind Doing Public Good? Five Rising Democracies
Haiti  World Humanitarian Trends  Welfare Syrian Refugees  Challenge of Stability

The Consequences of Chaos
Syria's Humanitarian Crisis and the Failure to Protect
Elizabeth Ferris & Kemal Kirisci
The civil war in Syria has forced some 10 million people—more than half the country's population – from their homes and communities, creating one of the largest human displacements since the end of World War II. This volume looks beyond the ever-increasing numbers of Syria's uprooted to consider the long-term economic, political, and social implications of this movement of people.
Brookings Institution Press

The Challenge of Stability and Security in West Africa
Alexandre Marc, Neelam Verjee & Stephen Mogaka
Since independence, the West African sub-region has been an arena for a number of large-scale conflicts and civil wars, as well as simmering and low-intensity uprisings. This book critically examines the key drivers of conflict and violence, and the way in which they impact the countries of the sub-region. Furthermore, it identifies key lessons in the dynamics of resilience in the face of political violence and civil war drawn from Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, that can be useful for countries around the world in similar situations.
World Bank Group Publications

Doing Public Good?
Private Actors, Evaluation, and Public Value
Edited by R. Pablo Guerrero O. & Peter Wilkins
Examines the contributions of non-public organisations, such as foundations, philanthropies, charities, non-governmental organisations, private businesses, and entrepreneurs to public goods and services. This book lays out key elements that need to be considered in evaluating the net results achieved by these private actors.
Transaction Publishers

Five Rising Democracies
And the Fate of the International Liberal Order
Ted Piccone
Will new global trends help or hinder the world's long struggle for human rights and democracy? The answer depends on the role of five rising democracies: India, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, and Indonesia. Ted Piccone analyses the transitions of these five democracies as their stars rise on the international stage. Listen to the author discuss his book here.
Brookings Institution Press

Humanitarian Aftershocks in Haiti
Mark Schuller
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti sparked an international aid response – with pledges and donations of $16 billion – that was exceedingly generous. But now, five years later, that aid has clearly failed. In this book, Mark Schuller captures the voices of those involved in the earthquake aid response, and paints a sharp, unflattering view of the humanitarian enterprise.
Rutgers University Press

Leaving No One Behind
Humanitarian Effectiveness in the Age of the Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Explores elements critical to effective humanitarian assistance and protection. This publication details global trends that shape humanitarian needs, risks and response expectations. It situates the study in the context of concurrent global agendas and recent trends in the dialogue on humanitarian effectiveness.
United Nations Publications

The Welfare of Syrian Refugees
Evidence from Jordan and Lebanon
Paolo Verme et al
Assesses the poverty and vulnerability of Syrian refugees and evaluates existing and alternative policies designed to help them. The authors find that current policies are effective in reducing poverty, but fail to lead to – nor are they designed to yield – economic inclusion and self-reliance. Those goals would require a humanitarian and development paradigm that focuses on growth policies for areas affected by refugees where the target population has a mmix of refugees and hosting populations.
World Bank Group Publications

World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2015
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Highlights major trends in the nature of humanitarian crises, their causes and drivers, and participation in crisis prevention, response and recovery. Beyond providing statistics, the trend analysis shows how the humanitarian landscape is evolving and how the humanitarian system can be more effective in a rapidly changing world.
United Nations Publications