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UAE Government launches first annual report on UAE Foreign Aid

posted on 01/07/2010: 1240 views

Millions of less fortunate people in more than 90 countries have benefited from the United Arab Emirates' generous humanitarian and development projects in 2009, estimated at Dh8.93 billion (US$2.43), reveals the UAE's first annual report on foreign aid, which was recently released by the UAE government.

UAE's first annual report on foreign aid, "UAE Foreign Aid - 2009", was officially launched by the UAE Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA) on 30 June under the patronage and in the presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and in the presence of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of OCFA. The report launch was attended by representatives of UAE government entities and local donor organisations, in addition to several foreign government officials, ambassadors and representatives of international aid agencies.

Content with the significant levels of the UAE's humanitarian and development assistance to governments and citizens around the world in 2009, recorded in the country's first annual report on foreign aid, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, "In a year that witnessed a global financial crisis that forced major donor countries to cut down their aid, the UAE has continued to play its role as an important member of the international community, delivering much needed humanitarian and development aid to those in need around the world. This is an achievement that would not have been possible without the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

"The UAE's foreign aid since 1971 is currently estimated at over Dh163 billion (US$ 38 billion). This demonstrates the generous giving traditions that are well established in our country and deeply rooted in Islam and the Arab culture," said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

His Highness also added that the UAE has enthusiastically endorsed global efforts to combat poverty and illiteracy, and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, set by the United Nations, and has shown its commitment to helping other countries to achieve them. Almost 95% of the UAE's aid given in 2009 was in the form of grants with no debts incurred by the recipient countries, and it has assisted them to tackle poverty, improve health care and widen access to education.

Marking the launch of the report, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured 21 donor organisations, lauding their contributions in 2009. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) was the largest UAE donor, contributing or administering Dh4.95 billion in grants and loans, or more than half of total aid, followed by the government which gave Dh3.06 billion.

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of OCFA, said, "The launch of this report marks an important achievement for the UAE government which, under the leadership of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Nahyan, President of the UAE, aims to raise the reporting standards of the foreign aid sector and cultivate more thorough documentation of aid flows which will help identify challenges and gaps. The outcome of this report, we hope, will include improved accountability and more efficient planning and delivery of foreign aid in the future, based on better coordination between donor organisations, the government, and key humanitarian and charitable players in the UAE." "The UAE's first annual report on foreign aid is the result of collaboration between OCFA, UAE donor organisations and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to provide accurate record of the foreign aid flows. The release of the report is an important achievement by the government in its efforts to build a comprehensive, transparent and accurate picture of the levels of foreign aid provided by the UAE," His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan added.

The President of OCFA also noted that the report gives a breakdown of the UAE's aid flows in 2009 by country, region of operation and sector of activity. "It indicates that aid from the UAE Government's aid forms 90% of the total foreign aid, estimated at Dh8.93 billion (US$2.43), and with a provisional figure for 2009 Gross National Income (GNI) of Dh926 billion, total UAE foreign aid amounts to almost one percent of GNI." His Excellency Hazza Mohammed Falah Al Qahtani, OCFA Director General, said "The report's findings confirm the UAE as an important global donor. It provides a comprehensive and accurate picture of the UAE's foreign aid in 2009, and shows that UAE donors contributed over Dh700 million in commodity aid to help mitigate the effects of the food crisis and provide essential food supplies to the victims of emergencies. They also committed more than Dh830 million for health programs, contributing to the MDGs to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Additionally, UAE donors committed over Dh340 million in education-related project, making a major contribution towards the MDG to "achieve universal primary education.

According to the report, Asia received 87 percent of total funds, while ten percent of total funds went to Africa. The remainder was divided between Europe, the Americas, Oceania and multilateral organisations. The single biggest recipient of aid was Yemen, where renewed conflict and chronic poverty led to a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs in 2009, prompting UAE donors to contribute a total of Dh2.84 billion in assistance. Other major recipients of the UAE's aid included Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories. UAE's aid also included providing emergency food and medical aid after floods in the Philippines, and working on major infrastructure and construction projects in Africa.

The report represents the first published product of OCFA's efforts to bring UAE donors together in order to document UAE foreign aid. Prior to the establishment of OCFA in 2008 by UAE Cabinet decree, there has been no central body in the UAE to track and document the funds coming from the country as a whole.

OCFA was set up by UAE Cabinet decree no. 36 for the year 2008 and has been operational since early 2009 to help UAE foreign aid donors improve delivery of humanitarian and development programmes worldwide. With HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, presiding as the office's President, OCFA is assessing foreign aid needs; providing appropriate training programmes and knowledge transfers; and building and strengthening ties between the UAE and the international aid community by providing multiple platforms that bring international and local aid organisations together. â€" Emirates News Agency, WAM


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