March 24 2014


12TH Edition of Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition opens today

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 12th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) was today inaugurated today by 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. The theme for this year’s conference was Opportunity, Mobility, Sustainability: The Humanitarian Aid & Development Perspectives.

In attendance and accompanying HRH Princess Haya were HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, President, Arab Thought Forum and Chairman West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Institute, HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development in the UAE, HE Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouie, on behalf of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s representative in the Western Region and Chief of the Red Crescent Authority, 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, HE Mr. Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as well as a number of local and international dignitaries.

HRH Princess Haya addressed an audience of international organizations and associations as well as several key international leaders in the field. “With regards to ‘opportunity’, societies create economic opportunities through a combination of education, health and social services, encouragement of innovation, and tax regulatory regimes that foster growth rather than frustrate it,” said HRH Princess Haya. “This is what has been done in the UAE – we provide an atmosphere that creates opportunities for individuals, corporations and other entities.”

“The first obstacles to opportunity for families in developing countries are malnutrition and the poor health that accompanies it,” continued HRH Princess Haya. “A seriously malnourished child will never grow to have the mental and physical capacity to succeed. Nutritionists tell us that the first 1000 days are critical – if a child is badly malnourished then the game is over before it has begun.”

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, also a speaker at this year’s conference, said the region is facing an existential humanitarian crisis. “Refugees should not be thought of as just another digit,” said HRH Prince Hassan. “We need investment in resilience and investment in a knowledge base to ensure the region’s long-term sustainability.” HRH Prince Hassan called on the DIHAD attendees to place human dignity at the centre of their efforts to wage peace, and concluded by asking all attendees to consider issuing an appeal to help those most in need. “We need to swim upstream, against the tide.  It shouldn’t be about national or sovereign concerns, but about shared human concerns,” He said.

HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, stated in her speech: “The UAE is aiming to achieve improved impact of our foreign aid by developing our foreign aid policy and strategy. The policy and strategy will aim to accomplish a number of objectives, principally to regularize UAE foreign aid, so that our forward expenditures will be consistent, reliable and effective; thus giving the opportunity for each dirham of UAE aid to achieve its maximum impact. Put simply, the more effective our aid becomes, the more lives are saved and improved.”

HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi added: “Innovation is the key to finding solutions to the most complex aid situations. In the spirit of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, it is my pleasure to be here today and encourage all participants to approach the conference with open minds and creative lenses in order to come up with innovative, collaborative ideas for tackling today’s most pressing humanitarian and development situations.”

In a speech delivered by HE Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouie 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: “We are counting on the growth of global social awareness about the environmental hazards, the inevitability of sustainable development, and the need to adopt to the principle of social responsibility in order to achieve a balance in the community. This is given that all members of the society, no matter how different they are, they all face the same risks and the same fate. We count on all of that to achieve a significant progress in building a better future for our children, to contribute to the march of human civilization, to promote promising opportunities for humanity, and to serve their crucial issues.”

HE Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha praised, in his speech, the efforts made by the UAE through participating in humanitarian projects and providing a helping hand in order to alleviate the suffering of the tormented and displaced refugees. HE Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha said: “The United Arab Emirates had achieved a special position among the list of worldwide countries that provide the maximum donations, and that is through extended aid, relief and humanitarian assistance projects provided by various organizations involved in this sector in the country. The city of Dubai has also become the capital of relief and humanitarian assistance activities. Yet, in spite of all these International humanitarian efforts, we are still in front of major challenges, in terms of natural disasters that hit much of the world, or the resulting disasters of conflicts and wars, which impose a great harm to communities. This requires us to unite and work together to alleviate the consequences of these harsh conditions caused by disasters, and that’s the goal behind our meeting in DIHAD.”

As part of the program, HRH Princess Haya toured the exhibition, 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, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, and the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, booths, to name just a few

DIHAD’s topics for this year will revolve around the conference’s sub-themes: “Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability” discussing opportunities in disaster reduction and preparedness, environmental protection and climate change, the forced displacement of persons, causes and consequences, and the topic of sustainable development after 2015. The conference will provide a platform for discussions around improving partnerships, and will host special sessions about sustainability of water and energy, the role of NGOs in the provision of humanitarian assistance in today’s crisis environments, and the role of NGOs as partners in development assistance.

Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, Executive Chairman of DIHAD and DISAB said: “For 12 consecutive years, DIHAD has been a focal point of attraction for all humanitarians from East and West, being an ideal platform for networking and a global umbrella to promote and improve the mechanisms of the humanitarian response to crises and disasters that arise in various parts of the world. DIHAD has consistently been at the forefront of topical humanitarian issues and, this year again, it will highlight a set of concerns now being universally recognized and increasingly addressed in a focused manner.”

Talking about the theme of the conference for this year, Dr. Al Madani also said: “Inspired by Dubai EXPO 2020, DIHAD Conference & Exhibition’s theme this year is, (Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability: The Humanitarian Aid & Development Perspectives). We have directed our best efforts to develop a powerful agenda that would assist the transformation towards a global aid community which is more culturally and politically inclusive, encourages dialogue and shares best practices across regions.”

“I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who have contributed to the success of this Elite event and encourage all participants to interact more effectively to attain a better future for our Nation and the World. DIHAD conference promotes discussion in order to source best methods and solutions through constructive interaction between specialized humanitarian bodies. DIHAD also encourages partnerships between humanitarian and development associations, while exhibitors at DIHAD exhibition display their latest humanitarian services and programs and offer direct supply by suppliers.” continued Dr. Al Madani

He also said: “More than 396 companies and humanitarian organizations specialized in supplying appropriate goods and services for disaster response operations, humanitarian aid projects and development programs are present in the exhibition this year. The overall event has witnessed a 20% increase than last year in terms of participation, size and activities, and this indicates the steady success achieved by DIHAD and highlights its value.”

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 is also sponsored by Al Khair Foundation & IQRA TV.