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UN Officials Praise Abu Dhabi Initiative to host Global Launch of 2009 Humanitarian Appeal

posted on 21/11/2008: 758 views

UN officials yesterday praised the initiative taken by the Government of the UAE, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, to host the launch of the 2009 Humanitarian Appeal, in addition to the traditional launch at the United Nations office in Geneva.

On 24 November, under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the event known as the Consolidated Appeals Process, (CAP) will raise awareness of the annual Appeal for humanitarian crises across the world, and mobilise support for the millions of people who are in need of immediate, life saving assistance.

'The first event of its kind in this region, this is an excellent initiative to raise awareness of the Humanitarian Appeal, with the ultimate objective of providing the best possible assistance to people whose lives have been affected by conflict and calamity,' said John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Representing the United Nations system will be Antonio Guterres, the High Commissioner for Refugees and ex- Prime Minister of Portugal.

The UNHCR representative in the United Arab Emirates, Saado Quol, said: 'We are grateful to the UAE for all of the support that it has extended to our programmes in the previous years. We look forward to expanding this strategic partnership and enhancing our mutual future cooperation in the humanitarian arena.

The launch is being held in close cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

'OCHA is very pleased with Abu Dhabi's generous offer to host the launch of the 2009 Humanitarian Appeal, which is the latest in a series of developments that have enhanced the UAE's support to the international humanitarian system,' said Abdul Haq Amiri, the Head of OCHA's Regional Office in Dubai.

'We hope that this event will further strengthen the relationship between the UN, other multi-lateral mechanisms, the Government of the UAE and the Gulf countries', Amiri added.

The 2009 Humanitarian Appeal seeks USUS$7 billion to help 30 million people in 31 countries around the world living in severe and ongoing humanitarian crises. A total of 360 non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies, and other international organisations have come together to build coordinated, strategic humanitarian action plans to alleviate suffering and prevent death in each country.

Last year's Appeal showed a slight improvement over previous years with USD 4.7 billion committed to date (67% of the total amount required). Among donors, the United States, ECHO, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Japan top the list in contributing emergency relief funding in 2008 through Consolidated Appeals and Flash Appeals. The United Nations hope that further improvement will materialise in 2009 with the common commitment on the part of donors to equitable, rapid, and full funding of all appeals.

In addition to launching the Appeal in Geneva on 19 November, Abu Dhabi will be hosting a parallel launch of the 2009 Humanitarian Appeal, under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and President of the UAE Red Crescent, on 24 November 2008.

The launch will include high-level representatives of Member States, heads of humanitarian agencies, philanthropists and celebrities, raising their voices to draw attention to the plight of the needy across the globe.

This year, in recognition of the pivotal role of the Gulf region in humanitarian affairs, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and a leading patron of humanitarian affairs in the UAE, has generously agreed to host an additional international launch of the 2009 CAP in Abu Dhabi.

The humanitarian community welcomes this initiative of the Government of the UAE, since the countries of the GCC have been long established as generous donors in support of relief efforts around the world. In addition, these countries are becoming increasingly involved in the international response to humanitarian crisis through the activities of their relief teams in the field. "Our hope is that the leadership shown on this issue by Sheikh Hamdan and the countries of this region will inspire others to respond just as generously to the needs of millions of people worldwide, and firmly place the Consolidated Appeal at the top of the international agenda", said UN report.

The Consolidated Appeals Process, or CAP, is a plea for the international community to extend its hand and provide essential assistance to millions of people across the world, whose lives have been affected by conflict or calamity.

However, CAP is more than just an appeal for money. It is a coordination tool designed to help aid organisations to avoid costly gaps and duplication that occur when they operate in isolation.

By bringing together the different humanitarian organizations, the CAP allows them to develop a set of unified, practical and constructive plans to tackle emergency humanitarian situations.

For donors, CAP is a way of helping to make sure that their money is being spent as efficiently as possible. By providing donors with a 'menu' of humanitarian activities and their funding requirements in a given country, it provides an overview of the most severe crises and allows them to make well-informed decisions about where to direct their assistance. Donors can then give money directly to a specific crisis, agency or even an individual project. Moreover, by virtue of their participation in this multilateral funding process, CAP donors have a platform in which they can shape future humanitarian efforts.

Most importantly, of course, CAP helps to ensure that those who suffer - the displaced, refugees, the sick, widows and orphans - get the best available assistance efficiently, effectively, and on time. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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