Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila says the way we help people in emergencies can be more efficient and effective by engaging local and faith-based organisations.
The Caritas Internationalis president will speak at the Special Session on the Religious Engagement on the first day of the World Humanitarian Summit. The meeting takes place on 23-24 May in Istanbul.
“Growing inequality, climate change, water scarcity, urbanisation, conflict for resources and the spread of extremism will put millions in peril in the coming years. We need a humanitarian system able to address these growing needs,” said Cardinal Tagle.
“Despite local organisations, including faith-based institutions, offering networks of infrastructure that serve as a source of shelter, care and education, the current humanitarian system of donors fails to recognise them.
“Resources are stretched. If donors want to reach more people with better quality help then they must use the readymade tools at their disposal. The World Humanitarian Summit is the chance to transform the current system by giving local organisations their rightful seat at the table.”
Caritas says the current top-down approach to humanitarian response must be replaced by an investment in local action, strengthening grassroots capacity, and improving partnership and coordination.
Caritas organisations from the USA, Austria, the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Sierra Leone and Niger will attend the meeting in Istanbul.
Caritas speakers include Sean Callahan of Catholic Relief Services and president of Caritas North America, Sabine Attama of CADEV-Caritas Niger, Chris Bain of CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) and Fr. Peter Konteh, executive director of Caritas Freetown in Sierra Leone.
The Caritas confederation pledges to promote global leadership on conflict prevention, upholding humanitarian principles, strengthening local capacity, improving coordination and partnership and ensuring those affected by the emergencies are agents of their own destiny.