Dubai – MENA Herald: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has emerged a frontrunner in international assistance and the number one globally in humanitarian aid. His Highness expressed his gratitude to the UN’s initiative of launching an internationally significant report from the UAE.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s comments came today as the UAE hosted a high-level United Nations delegation headed by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the launch of a special report on humanitarian aid activities around the world.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum chaired the meeting with the UN delegation for humanitarian aid that was attended by high level dignitaries including HRH Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, Chairperson of International Humanitarian City and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation in the UAE. The meeting was also attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Speaking on the occasion, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “I extend my heartfelt thanks to Mr. Ban Ki-moon on his sincere efforts to address international issues. I also appreciate the decision of the United Nations to choose the United Arab Emirates and the emirate of Dubai for launching the report on its soil and among its people. This step is clear evidence of the global confidence in our nation, our emirate and our people who have been making every possible effort to stand by humanity, support truth, and confront all forms of injustice.”

His Highness added: “In order to bridge the gap in humanitarian aid needs, it is necessary to consolidate international efforts, improve efficiency of humanitarian work, involve private sector and establish good governance in the countries that need help.”

For his part, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “I would like to express thanks and appreciation to the United Arab Emirates, its leadership and its people who prove day after day their dedication to the issue of humanity and its right to a decent life. I also extend special thanks to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for every initiative he has undertaken and every idea he has put forth in order to promote human culture and foster universal bonds among different peoples. I commend him for his noble efforts in promoting science, knowledge and creativity that essentially forms the basis of human emotions, and for his patronage of development and related issues in this region and in the entire world.”

Ban Ki-moon further stated: “The UAE has topped the list of donor countries in the world compared to its national income. Through its humanitarian missions and innovative initiatives the country has proven its capacity to take up international causes that make a difference to people around the world. The UAE occupies a high place among people with whom its missions have worked and who have benefited from its aid. The country’s international credibility provides the UN work that is carried out from here – from the emirate of Dubai – with the requisite factors of success and sustainability.”

Launching the report, Ban Ki-moon said: “The gap between the increasing numbers of people in need of assistance and sufficient resources to provide relief is rising. The world today spends close to US$25 billion annually to provide part of the required assistance to save lives and the people in need. Despite the generosity of many donors, there still remains a gap in the financing of humanitarian aids estimated at US$15 billion. This report, prepared under my recommendation by a high-level panel in the United Nations, aims to bridge the gap between the growing humanitarian needs and the available resources through increased cooperation with the private sector and the expansion of the new role of donors and finding a way for financial innovation.”
He further said: “We live in an era of mega crises but as the title of the report indicates, we simply cannot fail. We need fresh thinking and the determination to take bold decisions. This report contributes to shaping new priorities for the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May.”

On her part, HRH Princess Haya bint al- Hussein said: ” The human tragedies created by conflicts and crises and disasters over the past decade have brought the world to a state not seen since the end of World War II with the number of refugees and asylum seekers and internally displaced people in the world touching nearly 50 million. Such devastations have also raised the number of those affected by the lack of basic materials such as food and sources of clean water and health and education services and social empowerment and personal security to nearly 125 million people around the world, 87 million of whom need urgent assistance. This is in addition to the millions of people who suffer poverty, unemployment and diseases due to lack of development.”

She added: “We need higher principles around which world countries – their government and their private sectors – can come together.”

The UN report focuses on three areas to address the international humanitarian funding gap namely: shrinking the needs, growing the resource base for funding, and improving efficiency through a Grand Bargain between key humanitarian partners.
Among its recommendations are:
 Reclassify the eligibility criteria of the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), so that funding follows people in need and not countries, to enlarge opportunities to Middle Income Countries (MICs).
 Far higher proportion of official development assistance should be directed to situations of fragility and protracted emergencies, oriented towards building resilience and reducing fragility.
 Triple the IDA’s Crisis Response Window and expand funding capacity for emergencies in other development finance institutions.
 Governments should voluntarily sign up to a “solidarity levy” mechanism at the World Humanitarian Summit to fund humanitarian aid.
 Channel Islamic social finance and other instruments to humanitarian causes.
 Donors and aid organizations to commit jointly to change their working practices in a Grand Bargain.
The UN high level panel consisted of Kristalina Georgieva, Vice President of the European Commission for Budgetary and Human Resources Affairs, HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah, Ruler of Perak (Malaysia), Margot Wallström, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Sweden, Stephen O’Brian, Assistant to the Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Coordinator for Emergency Relief, The other panel members included Hadeel Ibrahim Executive Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Badr Jafar Chief Executive of the Crescent Group, Walt Macnee, Vice-Chairman of MasterCard Worldwide, Trevor Manuel, Senior Adviser to the Rothschild Group, Linah Mohohlo Governor of the Bank of Botswana, and Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS.