Dubai, 21st of March, 2016: Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, the 13th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) was today inaugurated 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, on behalf of UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of International Humanitarian City HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
HE Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha was accompanied by His Excellency Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qatami, Chairman of the Board of the Dubai Health Authority, H.E. Dr. Mohammaed Atiq Al Falahi, Secretary General of Emirates Red Crescent, H.E Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group, HE Khalifa Hassan Aldrai, Executive Director, Dubai Corporation Ambulance Services, and a number of ambassadors, local and international dignitaries. The theme for this year’s conference is “The Importance of Innovation in Humanitarian Aid & Development”.
DIHAD conference this year will discuss innovative solutions that must be applied in humanitarian operations today, thereby looking inter alia at food security, nutrition, water and sanitation, emergency healthcare, transport, logistics and shelter. The conference will discuss the finite resources available to respond to these pressing crises, and the unprecedented pressures facing those in charge of responding to crises and emergencies in the world.
HE Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha addressed an audience of international organizations and associations as well as several top notch leaders and speakers in the field, in his speech delivered on behalf of UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of International Humanitarian City HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum saying: “The 13th edition of DIHAD will be under the theme: “The Importance Of Innovation In Humanitarian Aid and Development”, which goes in line with the vision and directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai a global hub for innovation in all sectors and to spread happiness in the UAE and the world.”
He continued on saying: “It is no secret that the UAE is always keen to respond instantly to humanitarian crises and disasters that happen in all over the world, and it strives to help those in need and to alleviate the suffering of victims, refugees and the displaced, which follows the guidelines of our leadership and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.”
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 DIHAD lies in discussing the pressing issues related to innovation and its importance in enhancing the relief and development efforts to meet the humanitarian challenges that lie ahead especially asylum-seekers, migration, and climate change, and most of all finding appropriate solutions for all those issues.”
He continued on saying: “From our point of view, innovation represents a forward-looking vision for the future of the humanitarian work on the long run, aimed at ensuring a decent life for the victims of conflicts and disasters. Certainly, innovation will have a positive impact on the humanitarian efforts via planning for the future using innovative and unconventional tools that harness science, knowledge, and technology to serve humans and achieve maximum happiness and well-being.”
He concluded: “What we see today on the humanitarian front, especially in the Arab region, from humanitarian tragedies that exceed all expectations, puts us in front of great challenges that need to be faced through constructive cooperation and concentrated efforts to reduce the human losses caused by the conflicts and severity of disasters.”
“As humanitarian and development actors alike, we must rethink how we collaborate in response to the increasing number of protracted conflicts which the world is currently witnessing,” UNDP Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group, Helen Clark said.
“Traditional relief first, development later approaches are not tenable in the kinds of complex and protracted crises we face today. That is why UNDP has championed resilience-based development approaches to dealing with protracted crises, like that which Syria and neighboring countries are experiencing,” She added.
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 Tkiyet Umm Ali, the International Humanitarian City (IHC), Dubai Cares, Dubai Police, the Al Jalila Foundation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation (MOFA), King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, to name just a few.
Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, Executive Chairman of DIHAD Conference and Exhibition and the international scientific committee DISAB welcomed all humanitarians taking part of DIHAD this year, and said: “It gives me immense pleasure and honor to see you all here gathering in Dubai for one purpose and one goal. It is really a pleasure to have this big number of attendees and participants who mark their calendars every year to be part of this international event and strive to make a change and create a better life for people and nations suffering from crisis, catastrophes and wars.”
Dr. Al Madani continued: “DIHAD now occupies a distinctive position on the world map, and with every success we achieve, the responsibility becomes bigger and bigger. Through the years we took the lead to embrace all international organizations, associations, institutes and NGOs and encouraged them to cooperate and build partnerships in addition to join their efforts for the benefit of the people who are going through crisis and catastrophes.”
Dr. Al Madani also reiterated on the role of media and social media in creating a change and innovation for the humanitarian field. He also referred to the 10 years plan that DISAB members are working on for DIHAD. He said in that regard: “Today we are celebrating the inauguration of the thirteenth edition of DIHAD conference and exhibition. DIHAD adopts a 10 years plan that includes goals to expand our activities and conference agenda every decade. This year the turnout for DIHAD workshops was outstanding, they attracted lots of humanitarians, decision makers and key participants from all parts of the world, the theme was timely and attracted the attention of many organisations. Our plan is to attract more participants and associations every year and create change for those who need it.”
Amin Awad, UNHCR’s MENA Director said: “DIHAD’s theme for this year is a reflection of the leadership and commitment of the United Arab Emirates’ leadership to fostering a culture of innovation, particularly in humanitarianism. This commitment is aligned with UNHCR’s emphasis on finding new and ground-breaking responses to refugee crises in the Middle East and North Africa, and globally.”
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, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai and Dubai Cares. DIHAD 2016 is also sponsored by Al Khair Foundation & IQRA TV.