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Collaboration between Humanitarian Actors, Innovators Vital in Tackling Crises, Says Deputy Secretary-General at Event on Top Five Innovations

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the World Humanitarian Summit side event on “Top Five:  Innovations”, in Istanbul today:

It is a pleasure to be with you today at this event which celebrates innovation, and is itself innovative in its format and approach.  Finding new ways to do business is fundamental to our efforts to reach the people who need our help so desperately. 

The world around us is changing rapidly.  We are seeing the consequences of conflict and disasters, widespread displacement and poverty.  War has today forced more than 60 million people from their homes — more than any time since the end of the Second World War.  So we need to evolve and adapt.  We need to reach ever more people with greater speed, impact and efficiency.

Innovation is key to meeting these needs.  This is why today’s event is so important.  It is through people like you — innovators and influencers — that we can find new, unconventional and innovative ways of doing business. 

Collaboration among humanitarian actors is critical for us to succeed.  In Africa, there is a saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  We need to go both fast and far together.

Events like this one today are vital for the sharing of ideas and to engage in the conversation.  It is an exciting opportunity to be inspired by approaches which may be “secretly incredible” and which are just waiting for an opportunity to come to fruition.  It is time to provide a platform and impetus for these innovative ideas. 

I wish every success with this event and in your important work.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.