Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 21st of March, 2017: Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, the 14th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) was inaugurated today by HE Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha, Cultural and Humanitarian Advisor of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Chairman of DIHAD Higher Committee, President of DISAB, and was held at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.
H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha was accompanied by His Excellency Dr. Mohammaed Atiq Al Falahi, Secretary General of the Emirates Red Crescent, H.E. Helle Thorning Schmidt, CEO,
Save The Children International, Former Prime Minister of Denmark, and a number of ambassadors, local and international dignitaries.
The theme for this year’s conference is “The Impact of Crises & Disasters on Children” where it will discuss critical topics that will include: How To Better Address The Often-Time Irreparable Damage Caused To Children In Conflict Situations, Children; Abuse and Exploitation, Breaking the Spiral of Violence, Children and Hunger, and Education in Emergencies, to name a few.
In his opening speech, His Excellency Ibrahim Bumelha addressed an audience of international organizations and associations as well as several top notch leaders and speakers in the field, saying: “Every year, Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference & Exhibition – DIHAD brings together leading humanitarian agencies and organizations to convene and exchange their experiences, to discuss key humanitarian issues, to highlight the most important challenges facing crisis-stricken countries, and to improve the response of international organizations and agencies to cope with crises that keep increasing year after year, and with it come more weak and vulnerable victims, especially women and children.”
He continued on saying: “The United Arab Emirates is keen on being at the forefront of countries responding rapidly to crises and humanitarian disasters anywhere and everywhere, and to continuously alleviate the suffering of victims, refugees and displaced victims, based on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and their brothers rulers of the Emirates.”
“I want to thank all the Emirati generous donors, who spare no expense or effort to provide all the required financing for the humanitarian aid and relief efforts, programs, and projects, which make the UAE come in a distinctive position in the world’s most generous foreign aid donors list. I would also like to call on everyone to intensify their joint programs and humanitarian activities to alleviate the suffering of children and mitigate the effects of crises and wars, and to work on promoting human dignity, and to spread peace everywhere,” he concluded.
In a speech delivered by H.E. Dr. Mohammed Atiq Al Falahi, Secretary General of Emirates Red Crescent, speaking on behalf of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Representative of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in the Western Region and President of the UAE Red Crescent Authority, he said: “The importance of this edition of Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference & Exhibition – DIHAD stems from reviewing critical issues related to children and their ability to obtain their basic rights of health, education, food, and a safe and decent life. The UAE has always acknowledged those rights and worked diligently to support and promote them through a number of initiatives aimed at child victims in various crisis-stricken countries such as Yemen, Syria and Iraq, as well as countries in Africa. Those countries are currently experiencing a famine outbreak, and a vicious spread of severe acute malnutrition.”
“There, hundreds of thousands of children face famine and starvation, and thanks to our humanitarian aid agencies – led by the UAE Red Crescent Authority, we play a significant role in bridging the food gap and applying ambitious aid programs to improve maternal health, to provide educational opportunities for children forced by poverty and displacement to leave their schools, and to protect them from illiteracy.” H.E. Dr. Mohammed Atiq Al Falahi added.
He concluded: “Through this conference, we look forward to come out with positive ideas and suggestions that will be translated into actual strategic programs and action plans, that when set in motion will save children from the threats and risks that surround them. We hope to reach more strategic partnerships that meet our ambitions and boost mutual cooperation between partners, eventually promoting the noble principles and values that we are all working for.”
From her side, H.E. Helle Thorning Schmidt, CEO, Save The Children International, Former Prime Minister of Denmark, said: “We owe it to the children of Syria, and all children in armed conflict, to do everything we can to end their suffering. We have to step up now. Inaction has consequences: violence and conflict are a vicious generational cycle. To break it, we have to transform the experiences, perspectives and prospects of those who are children today and will shape world in the future.”
As part of the program, HE Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha toured the exhibition area accompanied by a number of key leaders in humanitarian field, visiting the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, the UAE Red Crescent Society, the International Humanitarian City (IHC), Dubai Care, Dubai Police, Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, the Al Jalila Foundation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, to name just a few.
Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, Executive Chairman of DIHAD and DISAB: “This year, we took DIHAD to another level, we were highly motivated by the theme of this year: (The Impact of Crises and Disasters on Children), we think this theme is timely and touching. Therefore, we have arranged a number of activities that helped in shedding the light on those kids who are suffering from the unfortunate situations and lifestyle they are forced to adapt due to crises, wars and natural disasters.”
Dr. Al Madani also declared that the exhibition space reached 16 thousand square meters this year, with 20% increase in the space of the conference and the exhibition. Moreover, Dr. Al Madani said that the number of associations and organisations participating this year reached 600 from 84 countries. In addition, 66 speakers attended this year to take part in more than 11 sessions and 8 workshops.
Dr. Al Madani continued: “After fourteen years of hard work and diligent effort, we are very delighted and content about the international reputation that the DIHAD conference and exhibition has achieved so far. This year and for the very first time, we have students attending the conference and taking part in it. We have more than 60 students attending from different universities which will add more value to the conference, and will also raise the awareness in the academic field.”
DIHAD is organized by INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions – member of INDEX Holding and supported by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Est, the United Nations, the UAE Red Crescent Authority, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, International Humanitarian City, OCHA- United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Dubai Cares.