NGOs urged to play bigger role in conflict zonesDubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development conference sees call for nations to share crisis mitigation responsibilityPublished: 18:32 March 26, 2015 By Maria Botros, Special to Gulf News SMALLMEDIUMLARGEDubai: There are 11 million Syrian people who have been displaced today, half of whom are children, with half of those in this category having never been to school or received an education in the past four years, said Hesham Yousuf, Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.At the closing address of the 12th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development (Dihad) conference and exhibition, Yousuf spoke about the tragedies the world faces today. Focusing on the region, he highlighted the importance of collaboration between the nations surrounding crisis zones to arrive at positive solutions.“The Syrian crisis gave a new meaning to burden-sharing, with Lebanon hosting 25 per cent of the size of its population in refugees from Syria and Jordan hosting 10 per cent of its population,” said Yousuf.There were also nations in the region that had sadly refused to allow as few as 50 people to seek refuge in their countries, he added. He reiterated that nations must begin to accept burden-sharing in order to contribute to the advancement of the region as a whole.Yousuf encouraged the inclusion of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as potential decision makers. “We need to examine how local NGOs can play a larger role and have a seat in international decisions,” he said.He added that services provided to vulnerable groups would have to be assessed so as to allow for improvements. “We need to improve performance in serving women, children, elderly, special needs and vulnerable groups by focusing on mental wellbeing in times of conflict and post-conflict situations,” he added.Yousu said the World Humanitarian Summit presented an opportunity to address all issues that concern the region and to achieve progress with positive action in the right direction. He concluded that the choice remains in the hands of the current and future generations to either become the generation to witness the breakdown of the humanitarian system or the reason to ensure its success.The conference, which commenced on March 24, concluded with the hope of providing solutions for crises in the region and a better future for people displaced by conflict.— Maria Botros is a trainee at Gulf News.