The Sovereign Order of Malta has a long history in the field of Humanitarian Diplomacy. How is this relevant in the world of humanitarian aid today?
The Order of Malta has been active in the humanitarian sphere for over nine hundred years, running world-class projects worldwide for the poor and the sick, regardless of their background and religion. The Order’s involvement in humanitarian works in the Middle East, particularly through the Lebanese Association, Malteser International and the Holy Family Hospital, are recognised today as some of the most reliable and trustworthy in the region.
Humanitarian Diplomacy is a field in which the Order of Malta has been present for some time. With its wealth of experience, its high level of respect internationally, and its status as a sovereign entity, the Order is able to play a key role in persuading international decision makers to act in the interests of vulnerable people, and with full respect for fundamental humanitarian principles.
How is the Order of Malta working in this field of Humanitarian Diplomacy?
Due to its well-established and trusted work in the Middle East, the Order of Malta was chosen to host a meeting of senior representatives from Libya last October, centred around the escalating migration influx and the fight against people smuggling on Libyan soil.
The meeting identified the most immediate challenges to be faced, from a humanitarian, healthcare and security perspective, and defined an agenda for a conference to be extended to other countries. The Order of Malta presented its commitment and support in alleviating the suffering of the Libyan population and bringing to an end the tragic loss of life in the Mediterranean.
As a member of the organising committee, tell us about the UN symposium in Geneva.
The Symposium in Geneva, last year, dealt with religions and conflicts, the contribution of faith based actors in areas of conflict and war, and the role of religions in promoting reconciliation and strengthening resilience. The Symposium addressed the current challenges for faith-based institutions and how they can better assist and protect civilians.
It is widely recognised that faith actors call into play significant social, physical and spiritual benefits for the populations reached and they are well known for their good practices. They are often able to make use of their wide networks, independent funding, and are known to stay longer than other organisations, after the media spotlight has gone.