Wed 25-03-2015 16:44 PM
DUBAI, 25th March, 2015 (WAM) -- Societies create economic opportunities through a combination of education, health and social services, encouragement of innovation, and tax regulatory regimes that foster growth rather than frustrate it, said H.R.H. Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
"This is what has been done in the UAE – we provide an atmosphere that creates opportunities for individuals, corporations and other entities," said Princess Haya, who is also the UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of International Humanitarian City, in her address at yesterday's opening of the 12th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD).
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the theme for this year’s conference was "Opportunity, Mobility, Sustainability: The Humanitarian Aid and Development Perspectives".
In attendance and accompanying H.R.H. Princess Haya were H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, President, Arab Thought Forum and Chairman West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Institute, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of International Cooperation and Development, Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouie, on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s representative in the Western Region and Chief of the Emirates red Crescent, Ibrahim Bumelha, Cultural and Humanitarian Advisor of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Chairman of DIHAD Higher Committee, President of DISAB, Elhadj As Sy, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as well as a number of local and international dignitaries.
"The first obstacles to opportunity for families in developing countries are malnutrition and the poor health that accompanies it," said Princess Haya, adding, "A seriously malnourished child will never grow to have the mental and physical capacity to succeed. Nutritionists tell us that the first 1,000 days are critical – if a child is badly malnourished then the game is over before it has begun."
Also addressing the conference Prince El Hassan bin Talal said that the region is facing an existential humanitarian crisis. "Refugees should not be thought of as just another digit. We need investment in resilience and investment in a knowledge base to ensure the region’s long-term sustainability."
He called on the DIHAD attendees to place human dignity at the centre of their efforts to wage peace, and concluded by asking all attendees to consider issuing an appeal to help those most in need. "We need to swim upstream, against the tide. It shouldn’t be about national or sovereign concerns, but about shared human concerns," he said.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, said, "The UAE is aiming to achieve improved impact of our foreign aid by developing our foreign aid policy and strategy. The policy and strategy will aim to accomplish a number of objectives, principally to regularise UAE foreign aid, so that our forward expenditures will be consistent, reliable and effective, thus giving the opportunity for each dirham of UAE aid to achieve its maximum impact. Put simply, the more effective our aid becomes, the more lives are saved and improved."
"Innovation is the key to finding solutions to the most complex aid situations. In the spirit of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, it is my pleasure to be here today and encourage all participants to approach the conference with open minds and creative lenses in order to come up with innovative, collaborative ideas for tackling today’s most pressing humanitarian and development situations," she added.
Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouie, speaking on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, "We are counting on the growth of global social awareness about the environmental hazards, the inevitability of sustainable development, and the need to adopt to the principle of social responsibility in order to achieve a balance in the community.This is given that all members of the society, no matter how different they are, they all face the same risks and the same fate. We count on all of that to achieve a significant progress in building a better future for our children, to contribute to the march of human civilization, to promote promising opportunities for humanity, and to serve their crucial issues."
Ibrahim Bumelha praised the efforts made by the UAE through participating in humanitarian projects and providing a helping hand in order to alleviate the suffering of the tormented and displaced refugees.
"The United Arab Emirates has achieved a special position among the list of worldwide countries that provide the maximum donations, and that is through extended aid, relief and humanitarian assistance projects provided by various organisations involved in this sector in the country. The city of Dubai has also become the capital of relief and humanitarian assistance activities. Yet, in spite of all these International humanitarian efforts, we are still in front of major challenges, in terms of natural disasters that hit much of the world, or the resulting disasters of conflicts and wars, which impose a great harm to communities. This requires us to unite and work together to alleviate the consequences of these harsh conditions caused by disasters, and that’s the goal behind our meeting in DIHAD," he said.
As part of the programme, H.R.H. Princess Haya toured the exhibition, visiting the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, the Emirates Red Crescent , the Tkiyet Umm Ali, the International Humanitarian City, Dubai Cares, Dubai Police, the Al Jalila Foundation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, and the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development.
DIHAD’s topics for this year will revolve around the conference’s sub-themes: "Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability" discussing opportunities in disaster reduction and preparedness, environmental protection and climate change, the forced displacement of persons, causes and consequences, and the topic of sustainable development after 2015. The conference will provide a platform for discussions around improving partnerships, and will host special sessions about sustainability of water and energy, the role of NGOs in the provision of humanitarian assistance in today’s crisis environments, and the role of NGOs as partners in development assistance.