Over 300 young people from over 80 countries across the globe recently converged in Doha, Qatar, for the 2015 World Humanitarian Summit Global Youth Consultation (WHS GYC)
Every day, we see news reports and devastating images of people affected by crises–trying to survive, besieged, fleeing conflict, or coping with natural disasters, such as floods, droughts or earthquakes.
We are witnessing more frequent and severe natural disasters, driven in part by climate change, with 400 disasters last year alone. Youth are also often more vulnerable to recruitment and exploitation in armed conflict situations. The World Humanitarian Summit Global Youth Consultation aimed to gather input from youth on humanitarian challenges and solutions, as well as foster increased collaboration between youth organizations ahead of and beyond the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, which will be convened by the United Nations Secretary-General in Istanbul on May 23-24 2016. The Summit aimed to find new ways to tackle humanitarian challenges in our rapidly changing world.
The event organised by youth for youth took place in Hamad Bin Khalifa University, coordinated by the UN Major Group for Children and Youth and the International Federation of the Red Cross. and hosted by Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) on the 1st and 2nd of September 2015.
During the opening session, Dr Jemilah Mahmoud, the Chief of the WHS Secretariat, emphasised the importance of engaging youth in reshaping humanitarian aid, seeing how young people are always on the frontlines of humanitarian aid.
The global youth consultation had many modalities of youth participation including plenary sessions, technical panels, breakout sessions and an exhibition fair, all in which IFMSA delegates took part in.
As medical students and future physicians the IFMSA delegates through their participation in the different sessions made sure to voice out the needs and capabilities of health personnel during conflicts, wars and other humanitarian settings . They also voiced out the health requirements of vulnerable groups and affected people, calling ?for ensured provision of basic health services. This has been well reflected in the Doha Youth Declaration on Reshaping the Humanitarian Agenda the adopted outcome of the global youth consultation.
During the two day event, an Exhibition fair was set up to showcase the work of different organisations in the field of humanitarian aid. IFMSA presented Training Disaster Medicine Trainers Project, that had received alot of attention from all the participants in the consultation. The project, is a worldwide training program that provides participating medical students with innovative and comprehensive knowledge necessary to create and deliver basic disaster medicine courses around the world.
Nowadays the most common causes of death and disease in complex emergencies and conflicts in poor tropical settings are: acute respiratory diseases, diarrhoea, maternal and neonatal conditions, malaria, tuberculosis and injury sometimes combined with HIV and undernutrition. The lack of access to preventative and curative health services, the lack of nutritious food and the lack of clean and safe water are often the most important risk factors. These problems are particularly severe in refugee situations and conflicts. The role of health assistance is transitioning into a more central one due to the persistent weakness of health systems of many developing countries on the one hand, along with the demand for an increasing range of health services on the other.
IFMSA delegates participated strongly in all breakout groups, our aim was to ensure the health agenda was well positioned in the outcomes of the consultation. It was crucial to reflect the challenges faced by the health care profession in conflict and disaster settings as well as reflect the unmet health needs of vulnerable groups and those affected by conflicts and complex emergencies. The outcome of the Global Consultation The Doha Youth Declaration has emphasised at numerous points the importance of contextualising the health response in serving the needs of those in conflict. ?Several points in the Declaration this has been reflected in points 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 5.2 and others in the document.
The Global Youth Consultation in Doha is over but IFMSA work in the process leading up to the world humanitarian Summit isnt. Medical Students along with youth worldwide will continue their efforts in #ReshapingAid in every step of the way until the summit itself as well as in the steps after during the implementation phase. You too can become a change make and contribute to #ReshapingAid. Send an email to [email protected] to learn more and get more involved.
Author: Karim M. Abdeltawab, IFMSA Liaison Officer to Human Rights and Peace Issues, [email protected]