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Princess Haya highlights importance of women in humanitarian crises

posted on 26/03/2014: 3059 views



Under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the eleventh edition of Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) was inaugurated yesterday by UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of the International Humanitarian City HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

This year, DIHAD selected Women and Aid as the theme for its eleventh edition.

Also in attendance and accompanying HRH Princess Haya were Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development in the UAE, Ibrahim Bumelha, Cultural and Humanitarian Advisor of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Est. and Chairman of the Higher Committee DIHAD, President of DISAB, Dr. Mohamed Ateeq Al-Falahi, Secretary General of the UAE Red Crescent Authority, and Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of World Food Programme, and Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner, as well as a number of local and international dignitaries.

After the ribbon cutting, HRH Princess Haya addressed an audience of international organizations and associations as well as several key international leaders in the field. "We must reach out to women as they are parts of families and communities with values and traditions and not isolate them. Look what happens to aid projects when they are seen, fairly or not, as a way to impose the social ideology of outside donors, they fail. When aid is seen as a threat, food does not get delivered, vaccines are destroyed, and aid workers are killed," said HRH Princess Haya.

"The good news is that there are men who need no convincing about supporting and investing in women. In the UAE, we are very proud that Their Highnesses Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum have been champions for the education, health, and empowerment of women." DIHAD topics for this year will revolve around the women's role in international relief campaigns, and the suffering that they face due to disasters and crises. The conference will provide a platform for discussions around improving partnerships, and will host special sessions about the humanitarian crises in Syria and necessary in-country, and neighbouring countries, assistance requirements.

"The Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) have become a global umbrella to promote and improve the mechanisms of the humanitarian response to crises and disasters that arise in various parts of the world. DIHAD strives to find the best solutions and applications for the implementation of development projects, based on positive consultations, interactions and fruitful cooperation between all regional and international institutions and bodies concerned," stated Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development.

"There is no doubt that having the UAE organize and host this global event contributes to strengthening the position of the UAE's prestigious leadership in humanitarian and development work globally," continued Al Qasimi. "It is in line with the UAE's wise leadership to support the humanitarian and development initiatives globally, and to provide all avenues and aspects of support for humanitarian and development organizations, to carry out its functions and fulfil its noble mission.

The UAE did not stop at the fact of being among the top donating countries in the world, it has also become by virtue of its strategic geographic location as a gateway between the East and the West, representing a link between institutions and relief organizations in the world, to deliver aid and provide logistical support." In a speech delivered on behalf of H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's representative in the Western Region and Chief of the Red Crescent Authority, Dr. Mohamed Al-Falahi said: "Without a doubt, the danger women face during disasters and conflicts is steadily increasing in many parts of the world. Because of their special case, women suffer even more from the repercussions of conflicts and disasters due to violence, exploitation and tough living conditions. That comes as a result to the destruction of the local economic institutions and the loss of the breadwinner or the disintegration and displacement of the family." "The harsh conditions faced in the refugees camps which is 80 per cent occupied by women and children, necessitate that international organizations and humanitarian agencies must work together to provide maximum protection for them. Women and children suffer more than others due to their inability to protect themselves, and because of the increasingly likelihood to be exposed to violence, exploitation and abuse in troubled times," added.

In his speech, Ibrahim Bumelha stated that, "The success of DIHAD Conference and Exhibition has been evident for the past eleven years by hosting the most prominent names, organizations and international institutions specialized in humanitarian work. DIHAD facilitates the cooperation between NGOs, local and international humanitarian organizations, for the sake of supporting charity work through logistical and technical assistance and coming up with the best solutions and applications in the areas of relief, aid, and crises preparedness. DIHAD provides a common ground that enables the exchange of experiences and information to strengthen humanitarian cooperation, relief, and development." "The UAE had always been keen to participate in humanitarian projects and to provide a helping hand in order to alleviate the suffering of the tormented and displaced refugees. The United Arab Emirates had 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 organizations involved in this sector in the country. These aid plans include the financing of development projects and the provision of food, shelter, and foreign aid programmes among many others," he added.

As part of the programme HRH Princess Haya toured the exhibition, visiting the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, the UAE Red Crescent Society, the Tkiyet Umm Ali, the International Humanitarian City (IHC), Dubai Cares, the Al Jalila Foundation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food programme (WFP), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, and the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, booths, to name just a few.

Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, Executive Chairman of DIHAD Conference and Exhibition said, "DIHAD has consistently been at the forefront of topical humanitarian issues and, this time again, it will highlight a set of concerns now being universally recognized and increasingly addressed in a focused manner. This year's theme, 'Woman and Aid', highlights women and their impressive role in crisis management, education, war and emergencies. I think it is timely for women to be the focus of assembled humanitarians, development workers, decision makers, academics, the private sector and the media." "For so many years, DIHAD has been the point of attraction for all humanitarians from east and west, being an ideal platform for networking. More than 330 companies and humanitarian organizations specialized in supplying appropriate goods and services for disaster response operations, humanitarian aid projects and development programmes are present in the exhibition this year. The overall event is 20% larger than last year in terms of participation, size and activities, and this certainly indicates the steady success achieved by DIHAD and the value of DIHAD to the UAE leadership and government," Dr. Al Madani added.

DIHAD is organized by INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions - member of INDEX Holding and supported by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Est., the UN, the UAE Red Crescent Authority, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, International Humanitarian City, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs - Dubai and Dubai Cares. . DIHAD is also sponsored by Al Khair Foundation '&' IQRA TV. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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