Building bridges in the Humanitarian Aid & Development communities

Launched in 2004 as the region’s first ever humanitarian aid and development event, DIHAD has proudly embarked on a humanitarian journey – building bridges in the Humanitarian Aid & Development communities, highlighting the importance of humanitarian issues and addressing them in a way that would help in building a better future for all.

Held annually at the Dubai World Trade Centre, DIHAD provides a platform where assistance providers can interface with relevant actors from the corporate and governmental sectors with a view to creating meaningful synergies in support of those in need.

DIHAD carries a new theme each year, thus giving the event a specific focus and direction. The 17th edition is scheduled on 15th to 17th March 2021 under the theme “Aid and Coronavirus, a focus on Africa”. DIHAD is expected to attract over 6,000 visitors and participants from over 84 countries, with a high level of speakers and panelists bringing together views and initiatives from the continent concerned (Africa) and beyond.

The previous edition (DIHAD 2019) was held under the theme “People on the Move; causes, consequences and the way forward”, wherein the Conference Programme reviewed the nature and anticipated impact of the Global Compacts as well as possible solutions to the many problems related to refugees and migrants.

DIHAD 2018 was under the theme “The Sustainability of Emergency Aid” in which the programme reviewed critical issues related to prevailing longer-term needs in humanitarian assistance.

DIHAD 2017 was under the theme “The Impact of Crises and Disasters on Children”, thereby reviewing critical issues related to children in need of assistance.

DIHAD 2016 was under the theme “The Importance of Innovation in Humanitarian Aid & Development” in which the programme reviewed the extent to which innovative solutions are proposed and actually applied in humanitarian assistance operations.

DIHAD 2015 was under the theme “Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability: the Humanitarian Aid and Development Perspectives”; the programme offered a variety of views on the existing opportunities in the contexts of Disaster Reduction, Environmental Protection and Climate Change and on the prevailing need for enhanced operational logistics.

DIHAD 2014 was under the theme “Women and Aid”; women, on whom disasters and crises inflict a disproportionate amount of suffering and women, essential providers of relief and assistance.

Prior themes were: “Building Effective and Sustainable Partnerships in Humanitarian Assistance and Development Activities” in 2013; “The Role and Importance of Youth in Humanitarian Assistance and Development Activities” in 2012; “New Technologies: How These Impact Humanitarian and Development Operations” in 2011; “Global Health Challenges of Tomorrow; Impact & Response” in 2010; “Empowering Communities: From Disaster to Development” in 2009; “Humanitarian Challenges of the Future” in 2008, “New Perspectives on Prevailing Humanitarian Challenges” in 2007; “Coordination of International Relief Efforts: Recent Experiences & Challenges Ahead” in 2006 and “Challenges and New Partnerships” in 2005.

The selected theme and related presentations, as well as the interaction that takes place both at the event and in the margins thereof, duly enhance the knowledge that humanitarian and development actors have about each other, thereby ensuring clarity in regard to respective roles, capacities and mandates, promoting collaboration and further reinforcing the notion of effective and coordinated action.

Over the years, DIHAD has facilitated relationships and contacts for organizations and indeed countries in the region, promoting the creation and strengthening of partnerships, which in turn have enhanced the effective delivery of humanitarian and development aid. DIHAD brings together national government authorities, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, foundations, charities, academic institutions, the media and an increasing number of actors from the private sector.

The previous editions were graced by the presence of H.E. Mr Antonio Vitorino, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), H.E. Mr. Filippo Grandi, then Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief & Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); H.E. Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, and former Prime Minister of Denmark; H.E. Ms. Helen Clark, then Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); H.E Mr. Elhadj As Sy, then Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); H.E. Mr. William Lacy Swing, then Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM); H.E. Ms. Ertharin Cousin, then Executive Director of World Food Programme (WFP); H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, then United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Baroness Valerie Amos, then United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Sir Bob Geldoff, and many others.

The Conference Programme is elaborated by the DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board (DISAB), which is comprised of internationally known aid practitioners and decision makers.

DIHAD is organized annually by INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions – a member of INDEX Holding. The event is 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; it is supported by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), the Dubai Future Council on Humanitarian Aid, the Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, the UAE Red Crescent Authority, the United Nations, Dubai Cares and International Humanitarian City.