As I walked into the lobby of the New York Headquarters of the United Nations Building on Monday, an overhead announcement said, “The Security Council is now in session.” I felt a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, thinking, “How did I get here? We are certainly not in Kansas anymore!”
I, Lisa Niver from We Said Go Travel, had been personally invited to participate in a meeting at UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). After years of working as a travel writer, on camera host and teacher, I felt like I won the Oscar of Travel Blogging by the honor of being included in this momentous conversation about the need for change in how humanitarian assistance is given around our planet.
Video: Impossible choices
Our group of twenty “Champions for Humanity” are tasked with assisting the UN OCHA to get the word out about the new website and the upcoming first ever World Humanitarian Summit. Sadly, “people are forced to make impossible choices every day.” On the website, learn about the issues facing 60 million people who have been forced from their homes. Many of the refugees are displaced for SEVENTEEN YEARS. It is not a six day, six week or even six month move from their homes. Some children spend their entire school years in temporary camps. There are 88 people who are forced from their homes and are fleeing conflict every three minutes.
To raise awareness and promote a paradigm shift in the way humanitarian aid is given, on May 23-24 the first World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul. Tweet your world leader that they must attend this summit. Right now, during Passover, it is a time to remember when the Jews were slaves in Egypt and act as if each and every one of us had to find freedom. Go to the website and send one tweet. It can make a difference.
How would you choose after crisis and natural disaster? Can you imagine having to flee your home to escape civil war, leaving behind what you know and love? If airstrikes were imminent, what do you choose to save and what do you leave behind?
In direct response to global crises and for the World Humanitarian Summit, the United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon developed an Agenda for Humanity that outlines five core responsibilities that the international community must shoulder if we ever expect to end our shared humanitarian crises. These five mandates offer a framework for Summit attendees, leadership and the public at large to take collective action:
- Prevent and End Conflict: an end to human suffering requires political solutions, unity of purpose and sustained leadership and investment in peaceful societies.
- Respect Rules of War: even wars have limits – minimizing human suffering and protecting civilians requires strengthening compliance with international law.
- Leave No One Behind: honouring our commitment to leave no one behind requires teaching everyone in situations of conflict, disasters, vulnerability and risk.
- Working Differently to End Need: meeting the basic needs of all vulnerable people requires a new way of working hand-in-hand with local systems and partners, anticipating and transcending the humanitarian-development divide.
- Invest in Humanity: accepting and acting upon our shared responsibilities for humanity requires political, institutional and financial investment.
You can make a difference! #sharehumanity @whsummit @unitednations Go to impossiblechoices.org to learn more. “We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere.” Eleanor Roosevelt, American Delegate to the United Nations was the chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and was the driving force in creating the 1948 charter of liberties which will always be her legacy: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Being at @unitednations @whsummit #sharehumanity at Passover, it is inspiring to think about bringing #freedom. “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” Eleanor Roosevelt, American Delegate to the United Nations, As the chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force in creating the 1948 charter of liberties which will always be her legacy: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on
Thank you @unitednations #sharehumanity. I am honored to be included in the “Champions for Humanity”project. We met with Stephen Rothwell O’Brien, British politician and diplomat who is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on