Day 1: 13 March 2023
The official opening of the 19th DIHAD Conference started with a musical introduction and a video showing the work of DIHAD and INDEX.
The Master of Ceremony referred to the impact of the recent earthquake in Syria and Türkiye, which has disrupted normal life, caused death and human disaster, broken apart many families. The theme of the Conference is very relevant with focus on energy which is in low supply, causing suffering, and complicating mitigation. She stressed that DIHAD provides an opportunity for humanitarian agencies to interact to help those in needs. She announced the DIHAD International personality award to be granted to those who play a prominent role in support of people in the world and those working on behalf of people in need.
H.E. Amb. Gerhard Putman-Cramer was invited to announce the recipient of the annual DIHAD International Personality Award for relief, on behalf of the DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board (DISAB) to recognise a distinguished activist for women’s empowerment, who has worked hard in pursuit of many Sustainable Development Goals to preventable death, launched numerous programmes and training in health and education, established public libraries, specialist hospitals, and cutting edge research facilities. She is the kind mother for the people with compassion for all people on the earth, mother of peace, she is the mother of the nation. The DISAB 2023 International Personality Award for humanitarian relief, was granted to H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi and received on her behalf by H.E. Dr. Maitha Bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, handed over by H.E. Amb. Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, Chairman, DIHAD Sustainable Humanitarian Foundation.
In her opening statement, H.E. Dr. Maitha Bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, relayed the greetings and appreciation of H.H. Fatima Mubarak who facilitates the work for the good, whom God has given a great heart and spirit, with philanthropy as part of her nature, following her work in the humanitarian world and helping women and girls, such as with centres for women of determination. She has always been on the forefront to help the poor and needy all over the world and promote development, to adopt transparency and to achieve sustainability in the concept of development and environmental resources with opportunities of growth to achieve preparedness to help themselves, working with UNHCR, and for Palestinian refugees. Humanitarian projects supported are diversified, including food aid all over the world, support for projects under the UN umbrella, schools for girls, and support for refugee women. Projects are increasing to promote other capabilities and environmental protection. She conveyed the gratitude for the great honour to her in the methodology and following the path of the founder of the nation, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for all to have a peaceful world.
H.E. Dr. Hamdan Al Mazrouie, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Emirates Red Crescent, on behalf of the President of the UAE Red Crescent Authority, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, expressed appreciation for the honour to the mother of the nation, who closely follows what goes on in the world. It is an honour for all sons and daughters of the country. He welcomed that DIHAD as a great international conference has become a platform to launch creative initiatives to protect humanity and dignity, health and aid, and puts a new fingerprint on the work of the UAE. It reflects a journey of initiatives that put an end to important humanitarian crises and has created opportunities to face challenges and support facing crises, catastrophes and wars, an climatic hazards leading to a further increase in human suffering. The Conference theme is important with its focus on the issue of energy and aid, in which context the Red Crescent Authority has launched an initiative on renewable energy, to help developing energy, desalination, irrigation and innovative solutions for arable land. It also aims at eliminating unemployment and encourages the return of refugees, and works with Abu Dhabi on sustainable solutions to reduce CO2. He looked forward to positive results for the humanitarian work with partnerships with international organisations and values of human fraternity. (Attachment)
A video from the Ministry of Social Affairs was shown on the requirement for a permit to launch a financing campaign and receive charitable donations.
H.E. Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh Al Shaibani, Director General, Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACED), expressed gratitude for the noble goals of the rulers and leaders of the UAE. The 19th DIHAD event illustrates generosity, a platform not based on any discrimination, with the large participation focused on relief and humanitarian aid globally in response to conflicts and natural disasters of the last decade with the role of supply chains and logistics. For the UAE, governments need to find innovative solutions for energy, aid and relief, and without wasting resources, with priority given to the public interest. The country follows a clear path to protect international rights in line with humanitarian principles in support of victims of conflicts, natural disasters and earthquakes, providing food and medical supplies. Charity is a pillar of the UAE, one of the world’s most prosperous countries with a mission to reach out to the world and to build on the results of the Conference for the future. In closing, Speaker thanked the organisers, the media and all present.
H.E. Dr Nivine El-kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity, Arab Republic of Egypt, stressed the need for a roadmap to reach a brighter and more humane future. Egypt is thankful to the UAE as humanity is the best trait to serve society or a nation for humanitarian work, for humanitarian activities not related to a special conviction, but developing clean environment for food, health, water security, economic development, and protection from the impact of Climate Change. This support requires fair development plans with human value as their priority without any discrimination. DIHAD supports people such as through innovation and development, health care and medical supplies, its Humanitarian College and Glasshouse Initiative. Climate Change directly impacts on energy supply and food security with drought, and CO2 reduction is essential 33% of the population does not have clean water, and a large share of the population is now exposed to increased heat and rise of water level. Carbon emissions must be replaced by renewable energy, and the aim of zero net by 2050 can only be reached if carbon emissions are fully eliminated. In Egypt all people are aware of the need for youth volunteers to build a prosperous future in which Egypt is a pioneer in social care services. It works on supporting people with special needs through the Egypt Red Crescent to bring relief, also to Ukraine, and meet the needs for all to capitalise on all available resources, and build for the future and respond to any crisis. There is a need to work all together to best meet the need of the society. (Attachment)
H.E. Mr. Michael Koehler, Director-General, European Commission’s Department for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, appreciated the Conference theme as very topical and bringing many experts and people of goodwill together. The Ukraine war and its impact on food security, and other crises have caused for more than one percent of the world population to be displaced, 339 million people in need of assistance and protection, leading to the UN Appeal this year asking USD 51 billion. Structural challenges include Climate Change becoming the driver of humanitarian needs to double to 200 million people in the near future, since Climate Change results in more, longer and extreme rainfall potentially with a multiplier effect. We must find a way to respond and adapt to Climate Change with investment for all, in particular the most vulnerable, and to consider its root causes. (Attachment)
Experience of DG ECHO in moving from needs based response has indicated the need to also have a risk-informed approach with more pre-positioning of stocks with new response supply capacities that include a budget line for disaster preparedness with Euro 180 million for trained firefighters for anticipatory action. Commitments to support participatory action to respond to the challenges of Climate Change require a huge input from donors. It is also necessary to focus on clean energy, as almost 2.5 billion people have no access to clean cooking fuel, mostly among vulnerable populations. Long-term crises are pushing the limits of security and stability, with Europe alone facing a loss of Euro 10 billion, 2.5% of its GDP. Green energy is needed also to build climate resilience, generating economic benefit. We must join forces to advocate for the right policies and investments. COP28 will hopefully speed up collective ambitions and comprehensive legislation, for which the Loss and Damage Fund is welcome. Resources have to go beyond the conventional donor base, tailor to specific needs, and work together as effects of Climate Change are global. EU and the Gulf countries can work together to reduce risks and increase resilience. The humanitarian sector cannot respond to Climate Change on its own, but needs to work closely together for success of COP 28 to work on adaptation.
Mr. Ramesh Rajasingham, Director, Coordination Division, UNOCHA, speaking on behalf of H.E. Mr. Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, thanked the UAE for the opportunity to address the question how to make humanitarian action more sustainable.
The UAE donated over USD 1 billion during the last three years, while the UN now estimates that USD 54 billion is needed to support 229 million people, underscoring the dilemma as never before the gap is widening as crises will multiply. The humanitarian community is seeking new ways how to respond. Two key tools for more effective response are: firstly anticipatory action of early warning, example of which is the stockpiling benefiting the South Sudan severe flooding and the Sahel drought and conflict, for which USD 10 million have been allocated from CERF for food, protection and clean water. To deploy limited resources has proven to be more effectively, further helped by CERF and more flexible funding. The UN Secretary-General has called for early warning for all initiatives, in particular for fragile countries.
A second key tool is climate financing and hopefully COP28 will facilitate climate funding as since 2006 a quarter of CERF has gone to climate caused damage. There is a clear need to cut greenhouse gases and make deep systemic improvements to meet the needs of the world. (Attachment)
Children of DIHAD in their session focused on renewable energy, e.g. hydro-electric and solar energy, and its advantages over traditional and biomass energy. Renewable energy does not run out and helps with innovative measures. This was followed by the appearance of the Masaka Kids Africana, who danced on the sound of the DIHAD song. The profits from their show will benefit orphans in Uganda.
OUTLINE OF THE CONFERENCE PROGRAMME
On behalf of DISAB, H.E. Amb. Gerhard Putman-Cramer, CEO, DIHAD Sustainable Humanitarian Foundation, welcomed all to the 19th edition of the DIHAD event with the theme “energy and aid; capitalising on available resources.” He described the programme with six sessions with a range of experts from different backgrounds, six Keynote addresses, seven Special Presentations and a Closing Address on Day 3.
SESSION 1: The Impact of Rapidly Changing Sources and Cost of Energy on Humanitarian Aid and Development.
Prof. Mukesh Kapila (Chair) introduced the panellists against the background of the images of victims of natural disasters or conflict. SDG 7 (ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) has been seriously affected by the Ukraine crisis, while five million people are displaced by natural disasters, lacking access to basic rights such as energy. Humanitarian packages do not catch up with humanitarian needs, leading to refugees having to spend a quarter of their budget on energy requirements. This represents a blatant humanitarian assistance approach. Desperate people adopt desperate cooking habits, and are also easily exploited by traffickers. Some of them have to walk 18 – 50 km to get a family-size load of wood for their energy needs, thus expending more calories than acquiring energy from wood. As a result it is a useless exercise. Furthermore, 94% of capitals do not have sufficient energy, resorting to charcoal which creates air pollution; at least 20,000 deaths are caused by indoor pollution from cooking. The humanitarian system does not manage to meet the needs, so what is the solution? It is clear that nobody wants to invest in sustainable energy systems, which could be done by providing electricity grids to camps at very limited costs. Scaling-up for all camps would cost USD 1 billion, while the basic cooking and lighting scenario now requires USD 1.6 billion and causes great hazards.
As transport is the largest overhead cost for humanitarian agencies, up to USD 1 billion per year, the humanitarian sector could use more local procurement and production of local technologies and needs. Urgently scaling up, cash aid, and localised humanitarian delivery system are needed now as well as improving the efficiency rate of humanitarian actors. The “Do no harm” principle entails doing more for the wellbeing of the people. (Attachment)
H.E. Amb. Yvette Stevens, Executive in Residence, Geneva Centre for Security, looked at the nexus energy, development and humanitarian needs. Access to energy is a human right, included in the development agenda, and in SDG 7, affordable and clean energy, while it is needed for the achievement of other SDGs. In South Africa only 22% of the population have access to energy. Although Africa has huge supplies of coal, oil and gas, it is power poor with only one percent of the population having access to clean energy. This has a negative effect on health, and causes population displacement, if the crisis is not addressed. Costs have gone down over the last two decades, but the reliance on non-renewable remains high. Furthermore, capital costs of generating technologies are a bottleneck as they have to be paid upfront and need a greater investment for USD 120 per year through 2040 which requires public private partnerships to find a crucial solution. (Attachment)
Mr. Greg Puley, Head of Climate Team, OCHA, mentioned that the world has fundamentally changed by the climate crisis, impacting those least responsible for the crisis. Emergency needs are likely to evolve as uneven access to clean energy is a driver for emergency needs while it must be part of the solution. Rising energy costs threaten livelihoods and have cascading effects which directly and indirectly impact people in emergencies. One result now is that energy reaches fewer people or reaches them with smaller supplies, thus putting greater pressure on ecosystems already under great stress, particularly for IDPs and refugees, lacking access to heat and cooking energy.
The UN S-G’s call for energy revolution is also about closing the energy gap and ensuring that nobody is left behind. More than 11,000 diesel generators are causing high financial and carbon costs. We need to reduce our footprint, steps for which are: a climate and development charter to maximise output at limited energy input; establishing a global platform for collaboration to work effectively together to realise economies of scale to support the private sector. In this context, a collective approach exists between Norway and Germany who provide both public and private finance at low investment costs. There is a need for de-risking investments in highly fragile societies to be able to achieve a future of resilience. (Attachment)
Mr. Ivano Iannelli, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), works for the largest aluminium producer in the world, which is in search of finding alternative materials as it is very power thirsty. The demand on its capacity is growing because of the demand in cars, and photovoltaic panels. Legislation changing creating risk and opportunity with cascading effect, and now the carbon taxation system which in section 232 imposes high import tariffs on EGA metals. EGA’s producing for smelting is low-cost vs traditional coal-fire. Carbon abatement has brought the cost for carbon to European standards with gas use and later renewables. EGA’s decarbonisation trajectory includes decarbonisation of electricity, refinery, while recycling takes only 5% energy. (Attachment)
Comments from the floor:
How to reduce transportation and logistics costs and their impact on humanitarian aid, their profit margins, and to underline best practices? Use more cash for local procurement. Also partner with social protection systems which requires concentration on other sectors to reduce footprint. *
Regarding power in Sub Saharan Africa, it is worthwhile to also to look at Power Africa, USAID, with private partnerships to find ways to best tackle this problem. African Union only now realises it can focus on local production and industrialisation vs delivery of raw material only. To move to renewable energy for such production it is setting up new infrastructure.
Availability, accessibility and affordability are key!
Positive incentivisation is needed for reducing footprint rather than penalties for bad behaviour or established behaviour. This requires infrastructure adjustment. Looking at ways of economically transfer costs into financing in action for environment.
To avoid confusion between development and humanitarian emergency with a large degree of displacement, we need to invest more in private sector and governments, better targeting investment and improving the distribution infrastructure.
Some funding for business for their adjusting of their business models. How?
Often more a development than a humanitarian setting in Darfur, where access to basic infrastructure should have made it possible for local authorities to become less dependent on foreign investment. The balance between reality that crises may be prolonged. Pooling funding and resources is to be at a higher scale for the Global Action Platform, whose recent report which is to be commended. We need to decentralise supplies for better output, e.g. microgrids, and to address root causes e.g. lack of access to energy causes humanitarian crises and displacement.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS “Global Humanitarian Challenge: Energy and Conflict”
H.E. Mr. Fabrizzio Carboni, Regional Director Near and Middle East, ICRC, reiterated that energy supply remains inefficient for decades after a conflict or crisis ends. ICRC works closely with affected communities to tailor actions to their needs, providing energy to power homes and hospitals which is often taken for granted until it becomes unavailable. Shortages make it difficult to deliver assistance effectively, e.g. in Gaza where electricity is available only for a few hours per day. Since all systems are interconnected, all are disrupted when supply is interrupted, such as because of an earthquake. Competition for access also comes from abusers, which can also exacerbate a humanitarian crisis as water is needed for basic necessities.
To mitigate impact, all parties to a conflict must comply with International Humanitarian Law, of which water is part. Water cannot be a military target. We must recognise the critical role of humanitarian actors in addressing humanitarian needs. Vulnerable populations and frontline actors must have access and improved access to clean water, sanitation and healthcare.
To promote alternative energy resources, a pumping station running on renewable energy has been installed to run generators. Urgent action is needed, in particular during armed conflict; energy conservation must be promoted, towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all. COP28 is to address the relation between climate and energy, fostering productive discussions. (Attachment Video)
SESSION 2: Supply chains and Food Security
H.E. Amb. Eynat Shlein, Head of MASHAV, Israel, (Chair) introduced the panellists and looked forward to an interactive session. Supply chains and ensuring food security in times of growing needs involve a series of steps from production to distribution. The Domino effect occurs when the chain is interrupted, so stability of the food supply chain is important for food security. Overwhelming interruptions were caused by the pandemic, the Syria civil war, and Iraq, with impact ranging from Europe to the Middle East, with long trade routes by land and sea. Critical steps for a reliable supply chain and food security include production, processing, transport, distribution and sale to customers. Natural disasters, political mayhem and economic downturns can lead to price hikes which reduce access by the local population. Profound structural shifts are taking place due to the Ukraine crisis in food security, sustainable intensification of local food production, and sustainable smallholder farming challenges to resources. Climate Change requires climate smart approaches. Women and youth obtain rural employment opportunities. Israel’s agricultural experience is the basis for MASHAD, with innovative approaches and production practices, and understanding of food supply chains, offering a holistic approach, including the step of marketing with different actors and adaptable practices to unprecedented shocks, all achieved through cooperation and partnerships.
Mr. Shukri Ahmed, Deputy Director, Office of Emergencies and Resilience, FAO, focused on supply chains and food security, food systems components requiring stability and availability and ensured utilisation. Production followed by trade, requiring political, economic and social factors. With regard to energy, stability is affected by access to energy as it affects pre-procurement, production, supply chain, and consumption. Food insecurity types are affected by emergency or shock, protracted crises, with chronic long-term effects needing well targeted development initiatives to build sustainable systems. High Acute Food Deficiency has increased from 108 million people in 48 countries in 2016 222 million in 53 countries, and more than 828 million people being chronically food insecure. The work of development organisations is often undermined by shocks with main drivers recently having been COVID, Climate Change and conflicts, and energy is needed at every level of the supply chain. Resilience and risk management are idiosyncratic, covariate, and hazard. Economic, socio-political and environmental causes of vulnerability, all need development interventions. They need prevention, anticipation with stocks and resources and risk management, e.g. by IFIs, and to be prepared for absorption with contingency planning and adaptation. (Attachment)
RT Hon. Alistair Burt, Former Minister of State (United Kingdom), expressed a special pleasure seen the many relations between the United Kingdom and the UAE. On relations to energy, his current organisation “The Power of Nutrition” with CIF and UPS , has been fighting against child malnutrition for the past five years with 115 million people affected in 15 countries. Stunting was the organisation’s original mandate, focusing on a child’s first 1,000 days through a multisectoral approach with WASH and nutrition. GAVI is involved to interrelate nutrition with vaccines. Growing concerns are caused by the impact of Climate Change, and this winter has been the first time to provide power for all needs for households with wind power. The Ukraine crisis shows that reliance on Ukrainian and Russian grain and fertiliser has been too long, with disruption of the supply chains impacting the Arab region with 51 million people suffering of hunger.
Options include a greater sense of preparedness and early warning; the UAE initiative of provision of meals to 50 million families, and the Islamic Development Bank’s leadership to work harder on predictability are important initiatives.
UK has taken action on reducing the cost of delivery through cash transfers to pregnant women and children; demand side of product access issues as use is low, apparently through a lack of awareness of food systems and now provision of nutrition; an annual shortfall of USD 11 billion is to be met with new partnerships with the World Bank and the IDB. Multisectoral systems, including advocacy on areas in need due to drought and other hazards, are exploring innovative finance and infrastructure and supply-based funding.
As a politician, Speaker is worried about reactions to Climate Change, but angry as the damage is caused by our own actions, and half of the needy population is not getting what they deserve, i.e. a manmade crisis affecting mostly women. We must be angry about the causes and not doing anything about it.
Mr. Thomas Thompson , Supply Chain Division, WFP, focused his presentation on innovative approaches with a brief presentation showing the number of countries affected by acute food Data on floods and storms shows the number of interventions but not the size of the population at risk. By 2050 probably most Africa will be unable to produce enough food. Anomaly in rainfall is seen in the Horn of Africa, which is also facing conflict while North Africa is highly dependent on food imports with little distribution of exports as grains and rice. Transport is severely affected by the price of crude oil, while the long lead time in particular of nutrition products is a problem. Access constraints to the world’s most vulnerable is a major challenge, largely due to security incidents and overall lack of security.
Options include making resilience programming predictive and proactive; localisation food procurement; faster reduction in carbon missions and innovations in energy sector; new technologies e.g. solar power production, storage and distribution; green shipping and aviation, but most importantly access to vulnerable populations by sustainable peace initiatives. (Attachment)
Comments from the Floor
Does the localisation of food procurement risks to disrupt market stability?
Scaling up nutrition (promoted by the agency Power of nutrition) is welcome, but has enough research be done for homegrown food to reduce carbon emissions? New, multiplier partnerships must be created also for research to produce differently with new modules, and also create opportunities and provide a market for risk reduction perspective for resilience creation as through localisation.
How can actors work together on a proactive approach to predict food supply interruption? Longer term solutions on understanding what places are vulnerable and how to fix them; also easier to get support for acute crises than for proactive interventions. Understanding underlying factors for any conflict is critical, helped by early warning systems predicting at least some potential crises. Poverty, unemployment and youth without hope are often leading to conflict and lack of security and not yet the right type of interventions. Many conflicts are local and based on local issues, but also by desire for power, wealth and control in case of poor governance. The impact of such conflicts, often with unnecessary suffering, also must be realised as it causes challenges to food security and development in general and constant fragility without adjustment of response moving away from sustainability in case of major crises, many of which are caused by CC, so a more holistic approach is needed together with funding for development to allow for sustainability.
Agriculture in development and how much use is made of renewable energy for fuel are important criteria. Priorities for countries in biggest need have now regressed in investment in seeds to pay for energy, but countries need to put their resources where needs are the biggest and not divert to other crises.
On conflict and food security, conflicts do not kill people but the inhumane way they are fought where food has become a weapon of war do, such as health care and sexual violence. Do not weaponise yourself, aid policy cannot stand on its own and aid is increasingly a small part of the overall financial support.
It is essential to be close to deliverers and people suffering, taking into account the problem of road conditions to help access and delivery. Influence on supply chains and food security are the real issue. There is a contradiction in time spent on responding to conflict and the dilemma is whether this makes the conflict stay on longer, often a matter of impunity.
In conclusion, the Chair stressed the urgent need to find ways to assist those in need, whether humanitarian or development.
* The remarks by the Panelists are reflected in Italics.