Day 1: 14 March 2022
The Master of Ceremony welcomed all to the opening of the 18th DIHAD Conference on behalf of the Chairman of the CEO of the DIHAD Sustainable Humanitarian Foundation and PAM Roving Ambassador for the GCC, the CEO of the DIHAD Sustainable Humanitarian Foundation and all members of the Board. DIHAD is being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. DIHAD is a global platform bringing together all nations. The video set out that this year the Conference focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 17: ‘Partnerships and Cooperation for Sustainable Development’, as an urgent call for all actions to bring wellbeing for all and strive for equal and decent working opportunities. This year the conference and exhibition have more than 600 participants and 50 speakers who will document change and promote sustainable development. Poverty concerns more than one billion people who are living under one US dollar a day, whereas at least one third of the world population are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. (Opening Video)
H.E. Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Director General, Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD), transmitted wishes for happiness and hope from the UAE to all participants, highlighting the UAE’s humanitarian and charitable role. The DIHAD Platform is a clear indication of the UAE’s priorities on the humanitarian and development front that is in line with its policy of leadership. Together we know the suffering that needs to be addressed, in particular the impact of the COVID pandemic which the UAE has strived to address locally and overseas, in line with its plan. Fall-outs and the pre-pandemic influence must be enshrined in all humanitarian and social work. There is a need for a transparent discussion that all problems result from war and conflict and to face crises wisely to work with good intentions. The UAE has planned to continue its humanitarian work with diplomacy, bridging gaps, improving relations and widening interests. He thanked for the opportunity to raise these points aimed at bringing happiness for humanity. (Opening Speech)
Dr. Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, reiterated that the Conference is held at a critical moment in view of the shocking humanitarian crisis with the Ukraine war coming on top of already existing steep humanitarian needs with some 274 million people in need of humanitarian aid and protection. The extreme weather events caused by climate change are feeding drivers of need, while the effects of COVID are still being felt by disruption of health care and access to education as well as a compromised food crisis. The response requires a much broader sharing of responsibilities for funding of humanitarian action, because the top 20 humanitarian donors give more than 98% of worldwide funding. As stronger partnerships are needed to be the basis for response, the focus of DIHAD on global partnerships is at the heart of EU’s work on humanitarian assistance. Many of the more than 200 partners often work at a huge risk of their own safety in line with humanitarian principles and in many protracted emergencies, and also crucial with development actors. On the Nexus it is no longer a matter of talking but rather doing to help communities to strengthen their resilience and giving tools to develop their own livelihoods. In Burundi, the EU works with WFP to set up an anticipatory action scheme, build resilience of the most vulnerable populations. It provides a chance to build up experience and look how partnerships can help focus on zero hunger, climate action, peace and strong development. In Ukraine the terrible toll on civilians, the damage and suffering are terrifying. It is imperative to be united and work tirelessly to protect civilians and personnel and ensure safe access. We are in a challenging time where effective partnerships are more important than ever. (Opening Speech)
H.E. Mr. Jagan Chapagain, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), had just returned from the Polish – Ukrainian border where he had seen a tragic humanitarian situation. Red Cross/Red Crescent societies are working to assist the millions of people living in multiple global crises with the disastrous impact of climate change, unequal response to COVID, and many security crises now coming at a critical junction. We must use lessons from COVID and put vulnerable people at the centre of the response to crises. More than USD 2.8 trillion are needed for developing countries to meet the global gap, in a time when more than USD 200 trillion is owned in private capital, which must be appealed on to help in meeting the humanitarian needs. We should also take into account the value of global Islamic finance in the global humanitarian and development context. (Opening Speech)
Lessons we have to consider include that funding must be smart, innovative and meeting gaps as the number of people needing humanitarian assistance is alarming. New partnerships must build local capacity and new models of engagement, including lending financing models, to create long term impact as a principle of Islamic finance. It is important to put people at the centre for sustainable local impact, including addressing climate change, and follow a multi-partner approach to scale up sustainable funding and building a foundation for a fairer world built on peace and harmony.
In closing, the speaker expressed the hope for the DIHAD session to reach a higher level of thinking to solve the problems.
In his address, H.E. Mr. Gennaro Migliore, President, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) recognised the value of DIHAD as one of the most important platforms to address the most pressing humanitarian issues. There is a strong partnership between PAM and DIHAD, recognising that working together can open new paths in relations between cultures. This year’s PAM Assembly was a special event with the UAE and Qatar becoming full PAM members. PAM is a valuable forum for effective cooperation and a constructive dialogue and parliamentary diplomacy in relations between states to address priorities, including climate change. With regard to SDG-17 he pointed out that interdependence is key in summarising the new meaning of freedom and human solidarity as a condition of social justice and collaboration. The current Ukraine crisis is leading to several million people fleeing to seek protection in surrounding countries, of whom the Red Cross movement is anticipating 18 million refugees. Against this background, he stressed that the GCM has never been more relevant than now. The impact of the crisis on food security is extremely worrisome as both parties in the war are the main wheat suppliers for MENA and African regions. PAM promotes support to SMEs and has proposed an economic community of Mediterranean and Gulf countries for renewable energy, which was first presented during the World Green Economic Forum in Dubai as well as in COP-26.
COP-27 which will be held later this year in Egypt is highly important as climate change affects in particular the Mediterranean region where focus on food and water security is needed. Furthermore, PAM also focuses on measures to combat transnational organised crime. It is in close contact with global leaders in the humanitarian sector, with many international organisations and NGOs to exchange practices to reach peace and prosperity. (Opening Speech)
Mr. Mohammed Al Yammahi, speaking on behalf of the Emirates Red Crescent Authority, stressed the need to continue the process of UAE and its highest leadership to address humanitarian challenges, including natural disasters such as floods and drought, COVID pandemic, which are bringing about more human suffering. The topic of DIHAD’s conference is Partnerships, the need to work together in many hotspots and to address dignity of people in need. The ERCA undertakes great efforts to serve humanity, improve lives and decrease suffering, regardless of race or religion. For decades it has worked to reach a better world, often in complicated circumstances to meet needs and immediate programmes. Come out with positive messages to enhance humanitarian action and achieve strategic partnerships and increase all aspects of human fraternity. (Opening Speech)
Outline of the Conference Programme:
H.E. Amb. Gerhard Putman-Cramer, CEO of DIHAD Sustainable Humanitarian Foundation, described the theme of the Conference as attaining the SDGs through the prism of SDG-17 with focus on partnerships. The Conference will include five keynote addresses, besides the Opening Session, one Special Presentation on the Humanitarian Foundation, six sessions and six special presentations, and one closing address. He looked forward to active participation and for participants to initiate new partnerships and personal contacts which are DIHAD’s main achievements, having strengthened over the years with positive contributions to humanitarian assistance.
SESSION 1: Zero Hunger (SDG 2)
Mr. Rein Paulsen, Director, Office of Emergencies and Resilience (OER), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Chair, considered the conference theme as particularly opportune for partnering in the goals in the current world. He stressed that the road to achieving SDGs has not been without obstacles. Before introducing the Panel, he briefly described FAO’s main initiatives on the road to Zero Hunger. In 2020, the ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ Report estimated that the pandemic further pushed 132 million people into hunger, up to 161 million in September 2021. Acute food insecurity trends show a 20 million annual increase, not yet including the current Ukraine crisis. Food insecurity mostly affects economically deprived populations, is driving further away from SDG-2 which requires to leave no one behind.
In Afghanistan, 80% live in acute food insecurity in rural areas, with a real risk of a systems collapse. Agriculture is only 8 percent funded while 2/3 of the population in humanitarian contexts depend on agriculture, which is one of the most cost-effective saving lives today and tomorrow. Humanitarian actions alone cannot prevent famine which requires partnerships for long-term resilience building and more ODA, in particular in fragile contexts. The Nexus approach can help to provide all-round assistance in which partnerships are the key element to make a lasting impact on hunger.
FAO has built partnerships at the global level with the Global Network Against Food Crises established in 2016 by FAO, WFP and EU, aimed at transforming agricultural food systems into sustainable food systems and thus overcome inequality and poverty. At the regional level FAO works with WFP and IGAD on the One Million Grain Stores Initiative in East Africa, helping to better preserve and manage food stocks and develop more predictable terms of trade year round. Regional partnerships are more urgent in view of the Ukraine conflict. The third form are the sector partnerships in strengthening value chains in animal feeding with stable market access for small farmers in three conflict-affected contexts. All these initiatives need political commitments, adequate resources and inclusive partnerships, which is at the heart of DIHAD 2022 to achieve Agenda 2030. (Attachment 1; Attachment 2)
H.E. Amb. Eynat Shlein, Head of MASHAV, Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel, shared her vision of sustainable zero hunger, agricultural growth and poverty reduction. Most smallholder farmers are women and support can help them to improve several forms of agriculture, among which substance agriculture is the most difficult one. There is a clear correlation between rural communities’ food production ability and a need for climate smarter initiatives accommodating climate change. Agricultural development, water management and irrigation, livestock production, knowledge of environment and climate change, and research and development are the key areas of focus of effective partnerships based on respective strengths and unique expertise. Agriculture and rural development in semi-arid and arid climates are a particular challenge to also achieve economic development and employment.
Speaker gave several practical examples of MASHAV’s projects, such as a Smallholder Horticulture Project in Ethiopia for avocado culture with technical support to increase income through innovative production, irrigation, testing, and marketing skills to achieve competitive and sustainable development. The results are impressive with more than 2,500 farmers trained in various skills as well as post-harvest handling techniques. The initiative is being replicated through training of trainers and also implementation of recommendations and sustainable capacity building. (Attachment)
Mr. David Kaatrud, Director, Programme (Humanitarian and Development), World Food Programme, pointed out that we fall behind reaching SDG-2 with overall need for food assistance rising with climate change, persisting political crises, COVID, and soon to be increased prices of energy and food, drivers all linked together with over eight million people going hungry every night. Transition strategies must be linked with local frontline partners placed at the centre. In 2020, over 85% of WPF’s budget was spent on humanitarian programmes and 15% (USD 1.2 billion) on sustainable development activities following the Nexus approach of resilience building pre- and post cost increases, which must be addressed in partnership as linked to SDG-17. New human development fora are emerging as platforms to advocate for collective action such as a global network to tackle rising food prices. The Food Systems Summit of last year was a foundational pillar to development as it shifted thinking about food as a basic human need and not just a commodity.
While WFP networks with a large range of institutions at the global level, there is also a trend for knowledge partnerships to keep the evidence base to feed into peace institutions such as SIPRI. With the many initiatives under way to address the food security crisis, humanitarian action to deliver lifesaving assistance must continue: “Prevention always, development where possible”. There is also a need to work with the private sector as the road to 2030 is long and needs travelling together. (Attachment)
Ms Sara Al Nuaimi, Director, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), which since 2015 combines some 30 humanitarian and development initiatives to adopt a culture of hope with support to address cultural, economic, health and human development within the world. The current focus is on the global food crisis to combat hunger worldwide based on the legacy of late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Agency, and the leadership in developing comprehensive humanitarian aid as its key goal. As the large number of people suffering from hunger means it will not be feasible to achieve SDG-2 by 2030, the UAE has launched the National Food Security Strategy 2051 to ensure access to safe nutrition and food throughout the world, to make challenges turning into opportunities. MBRGI supports always ongoing and sustaining projects such as the “10 Million Meals Campaign” in 2020 COVID which provided mostly locally food assistance. This was in 2021 moved into “100 Million Meals”, further increased to 220 million handed out in 47 countries, and in 2022 One Billion Meals for the needy in 50 countries around the world. Besides providing food hand-outs, the projects also aims to achieve sustainable food supply and build the capacity for beneficiaries to make their own food. (Attachment video)
Comments from the floor:
What is sustainability of the meals project? How is the division of labour between FAO and WFP at the local level and how is the programme sustainable? The focus should not be just on meals but on other problems which require more cooperation despite blocking progress and calls on provision of water for irrigation at farms to prevent migration from cities to rural areas.
KEY NOTE ADDRESS “Conflict and Climate: A Perfect Storm”
H.E. Mr. Robert Mardini, Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
reiterated that the topic of climate change concerns us all, but the focus now is on a full blown international armed conflict with extremely serious humanitarian consequences. Staff deployed to Ukraine has been confronted with apocalyptic scenes of terror, people running out of energy for heating in freezing temps, lacking water and basic supplies. The rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) are being violated, while the rules of protection of the natural environment are vital for the affected population who depend on it for food. Although the main focus is on the Ukraine crisis, it should not detract from the attention on other major humanitarian crises such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Sahel and Yemen. Climate change is the defining challenge of the 21st century which mostly affects the most vulnerable living in poor economies, with a lack of social cohesion and reversal of development progress, such as in Mali, South Sudan, or in Afghanistan. Displacement and climate change make coping extremely difficult after many years of fighting and insecurity have decreased the capacity of fighting poverty and adapting to shocks.
Concerted action is needed to limit the impact of climate change and find ways for people and communities to adapt, strengthen understanding of short and long-term environmental risks, for which global partnerships and cooperation are essential. More than 220 humanitarian organisations have signed the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organisations, developed with support from three countries. The aim is to help people to adapt to the impacts of the crisis. Signatories also commit to reducing their own carbon footprints, working with IFIs and the private sector. It is important to put our own house in order, factoring climate risk in all humanitarian programmes in 2025, and reducing greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030. ICRC recently launched a multi-year Climate & Environment Trust Fund aiming to fund long-term climate and environment initiatives, and ICRC at COP- 27 will give the same message as in Glasgow, i.e. that without support from the humanitarian and international community and closing the gap between words and actions it will not be possible to reach the most vulnerable and thus risking to leave them behind. Positive change for more global solidarity, working together for the most vulnerable and protecting the planet is urgently needed. There is no alternative and no time to waste. (Attachment)
SESSION 2: Climate Action (SDG 13)
Mr. Ovais Sarmad, Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change Secretariat, Chair, expressed the focus of panel as to be on the impact of climate change which clearly needs to be addressed urgently as it is one of the main challenges we are facing. He briefly described the initiatives in addressing climate change, such as the Paris Agreement and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. While the COP and all intergovernmental processes to bring multi-stakeholders together resulted in the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact and the finalisation of the Paris Agreement rulebook, it is now high time to move beyond talking and to move to implementation of the intergovernmental agreements through partnerships. Climate change has now become an existential threat to humanity, which needs initiatives of phasing down the use of unabated coal, reduce emissions with 45 percent by 2030, achieve climate neutrality by 2050, and focus on global adaptation. The COP-27 to be held Sharm-el-Sheikh is expected to be transformative with focus on adaptation, there is hope that 2022 will be the year of implementation. All stakeholders must work together in partnerships between governments, academia, civil society and the private sector to tackle the challenge of climate change. (Attachment)
Mr. Jacob Waslander, Netherlands Envoy to the Middle East and North Africa for Water, Energy and Food, spoke in a holistic capacity with focus on sustainability. He expressed the fear that we are now living on credit of future generations by taking out more from the earth than giving it. Climate risks are existential and an immediate reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions by 50% by 2030 to reach a temperature rise limit of 1.5o C is imperative. Current NDCs indicate a rise of 2.7o C by 2050 when properly implemented, while a scenario of a rise of 3.0o C will be a catastrophe for humanity.
The temperature rise is uneven over the globe, high in the two poles and in the MENA causing considerable heat and water stress. The recent IFCC report offers different scenarios and indicates that the impact will be in particular on the most vulnerable with limited per capita available and getting worse. To transition by 2030 towards a net-zero in 2050, two perspectives are climate action with focus on adaptation, and humanitarian assistance. The Dubai Summit on Water Energy Food Nexus showed that the nexus-approach may help to optimise synergies and identify where trade-offs are required. Action also includes to introduce innovations in agriculture, with better land use, and sequestration of lands and forest, and take evidence-based investment decisions by carefully handle data and ensuring access to ambitious policies to transit to green policy. Linking humanitarian assistance is key in climate adaptation and resilience by preventing humanitarian emergencies and strengthening resilience. The temperature surge must be addressed right now with governments, science and civil society working together to bringing impacts of climate change on livelihoods to scale. (Attachment)
Ms Caroline Dumas, Director General’s Special Envoy for Migration and Climate Action, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), gave a perspective of climate change as a threat to human wellbeing and health of the planet. Climate crisis affects the planet and people, requiring action at local and international level, and at global and national level.
Between 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. With a 2oC temperature rise, 65 million people will be exposed to exceptional heat stress, whereas global warming is already leading to migration and displacement in all regions in the world, in particular in small island states, Africa and southern America. While appalling figures are seen with 30.7 million new IDPs in 2020 in 149 countries of whom 2/3 in Asia and the Pacific due to natural hazards, without action the number of IDPs in Africa and South East Asia will be more than 216 million by mid-century.
Humanitarian response alone is not enough and needs a wider approach with good data, prevention and development for which IOM supports the nexus of adaptation, mitigation and development, with programmes for better preparedness. MENA is the most water scarce region in the world, and more development action is needed when mitigation is not possible to ensure household income generation and reintegration in communities of destination and return. At the global level climate action is needed with cross-sectoral and cross-country collaboration. After COP-26 there is an urgent need for more adaptation and finance to be implemented to transform risk into more resilience, for which the review of the GCM and COP-27 can be key opportunities to reach youth to help us reaching these goals. (Attachment)
Mr. Abdul Haq Amiri, Section Chief of the MENA region, UN OCHA, focused on the impact of climate change on the humanitarian situation and gave suggestions from a humanitarian perspective to prevent and overcome challenges to humanity. In 2021 23 countries recorded temps over 50oC, including Canada with 60.7oC as the highest ever since 1913. The intersection between conflict and environmental security is clear. The economic impact in the Middle East is the highest with temperature rise by 4oC expected by 2050. The economic impact is up by 82% and large numbers of people are directly affected. The UN issued a Global Humanitarian Appeal asking for USD 43 billion. Two degree increase is a death sentence and the number of IDPs for climate reasons amounts to more than 22 million people per year.
Speaker outlined solutions to bring climate change under control, including working with governments, communities and households to adapt capacities and resilience; looking into increasing local power solutions. Since climate change is a transboundary problem so should solutions be as well. Increased competition between the humanitarian and development sectors must be changed into increased cooperation. The annual target of USD 100 billion set by UNFCCC must be reached, but more important is cooperation to address climate change, and build capacity to counter the impact of climate change in developing countries. Humanitarian action has a critical role to also build resilience and adaptation by affected communities and work cross sector and cross actors. (Attachment)
Comments from the floor:
What is the role of local NGOs and civil society for long-term assistance to achieve SDG-13; what progress has been made since Glasgow as the climate funding gap is still large? The target of USD 100 billion annually in climate financing has not yet been achieved, but there is confidence it will be reached at COP-27.
How to combine international development and economic growth without a carbon footprint? Intersection of peace and development is needed to reduce the footprint and global warming, raising public awareness and impact on global security, and more political will is needed at all levels.
Although no specific limits of adaptation have been established, it would be wrong to put a limit. National Adaptation Plans need to be acted upon; so far there are 70 NAPs in place but more must be done.
Financial resources are available in The Netherlands to adapt, such as using floating docks in case of sea-level rise, but we should not be complacent and adapt life to changing circumstances. Adaptation is not easily measurable as no clear indicators are established and it is complex and slow.
While the Food Systems Summit focused also on water and climate change, there is still no clear link with peace and security. Link climate change and security where climate change is a multiplier after other factors of governance and security are jeopardising stability and lead to conflict. Three out of the five new non-permanent Security Council members put climate change as a priority for the Council’s work (Albania, Gabon, and Ghana) which illustrates conscience of the danger of climate change for security. The Paris Agreement was a vital tool to address the challenges and engagement by the Security Council as inclusive multilateralism also requires civil society and governments to act.
In Iraq the humanitarian – development nexus is under discussion to also address all other risks.
Regarding localisation of aid, considerable progress has been made since the Great Bargain in 2016 to increase involvement of local actors in response, e.g. in Sudan over 20% of aid through national NGOs. Behavioural and cultural changes are needed.
Climate change is impacting all parts of the world but impact is more felt in less developed countries and should give impetus to interact at all levels. The climate of today is borrowed from the future generations, and despite considerable progress more needs to be done.