Message from the Chairman of DIHAD

On behalf of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian & Charity Est., it gives me the honour to invite you to participate in the 17th edition of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference & Exhibition – DIHAD 2020 to be held in Dubai from March 10-12, 2020.

As an active charity foundation in the UAE, we are proud to support DIHAD in all its activities where we can grow and share experiences with the regional and international humanitarian community.

With a world blighted by suffering and poverty, we wish to further facilitate the work of local and regional humanitarian actors to meet with the ultimate goal of reducing suffering around the world.

H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha
Cultural and Humanitarian Advisor of – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Vice President – Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Est.
Chairman of the Higher Committee – DIHAD
Chairman of DISAB


Over the last decade, the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) – the first humanitarian aid and development event in the middle east, has played a key role in promoting the exchange of humanitarian ideas, values and practices.

DIHAD comes at a time when the world of humanitarian aid is consistently challenged by a series of humanitarian crisis and natural disasters. As the world is facing the worst refugee crisis in over half a century with millions of refugees and migrants fleeing many regions and continents, countries around the world are struggling to cope up with the growing crisis.

For its 16th edition, DIHAD is being held under the theme ‘People on the Move’, which is the most difficult challenge facing world leaders today. While there are many challenges and conflicts in the world, the UAE stands out as a beacon of hope, proving itself to be a model for positive change and a world leader in disbursing humanitarian aid. DIHAD aims to draw inspiration from UAE’s core principles of tolerance and cooperation and contribute for the betterment of people in need.

In line with its continuing legacy, DIHAD will continue to advance the principles of sustainable humanitarian aid and strengthen its role as a key platform for humanitarian aid. In its upcoming edition, DIHAD is expected to witness the participation of over 600 top humanitarian organizations, authorities, donors, local and international aid associations and NGO’s, from over 80 countries and it is expected to attract over 15,000 visitors and participants.

Running parallel to the conference, the DIHAD exhibition will provide UN organizations, NGO’s and world-renowned aid agencies, a great opportunity to showcase their latest services and share their real-life experiences in helping the victims of humanitarian crisis around the world.

Finally, I would like to thank all our esteemed partners, colleagues, exhibitors, local and international aid organizations and agencies for their continuous humanitarian support and contribution and I hope DIHAD will meet your goals and expectations in 2020!

I look forward to seeing you all in Dubai very soon!

Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani
Executive Chairman – DIHAD
Chairman, DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board – DISAB


People on the move, refugees, migrants, internally displaced… People with the few possessions they are able to carry on crowded lorries, buses, boats or, mostly, walking.. People moving away from conflict, war, persecution, drought, poverty and a variety of other situations, hoping for a better life elsewhere. People who have survived a perilous journey at sea and who are unable to disembark in inhospitable harbours; people in transit centres or camps, waiting to hear whether there is another destination; people separated from their loved ones, not knowing their whereabouts and lacking the means to find out; vulnerable people who have often been abused, whose hopes have been dashed and whose dignity, if not taken away, has been seriously dented.

Headlines are filled with stories of people on the move, causing compassion on account of the human tragedies so vividly depicted and recorded. Those headlines have also instilled fear in the hearts of those who see people on the move as potentially treading on their turf, changing their culture, taking their job and making their surroundings unsafe.

Our focus shifts from one crisis or situation to another fairly rapidly, moving from places in central and northern Africa to the Middle East, from the north-western border of Myanmar to the northern border of Mexico, from south Asia to southeastern Europe.. But there are many more people on the move than those our media alternatively highlight. It is often forgotten that most people on the move actually migrate « laterally », south-south, from one developing country to another. There are misconceptions about migrants’ motives as well as about their expectations. There is confusion about their numbers (the difference occasionally not being made between legal migration on the one hand and unsolicited  « illegal » migrants on the other..) and there is apprehension in regard to the burden they are to represent for host communities.

This leads one to conclude that appropriate standards and regulations in regard to migration still need to be incorporated in the concerned bodies of national law. The Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees constitute mile stone steps in terms of international governance. People moving from one location to another is after all a global reality, amplified as it is by the unfortunate amplification of the causes.. ; it thus requires a global approach.

While it is often said in western countries that migrants will slow economic development and threaten already strained welfare systems, their arrivals actually – mostly –  provide welcome additions to the workforce, often in sectors where job openings are hard to fill. Moreover, some 85% of migrants’ earnings is spent in the host country, while the remainder is sent home to families left behind in the countries of origin (totalling, in poorer countries, sums far in excess of official development assistance!). It is thus clear that there are opportunities for all concerned in the context of the movement of people, to be universally understood, appreciated, managed and capitalised on.

As we recall our ongoing pursuits in regard to attaining the adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must take fully into account all people on the move, both present and future. They are neither to be « left behind » nor to be allowed to exponentially grow in numbers; they are, after all, living proof of those conditions which have led to their flight: conflicts, disasters and persistent underdevelopment.

In view of the importance and urgency of collectively getting it right in regard to « people on the move », the DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board (DISAB) has decided to make this the theme of this year’s DIHAD (March 12-14, 2019). Being very much aware however of the many other fora dealing with the subject of refugees and migrants, it is planned for the Conference to focus on those selected aspects which, once duly enriched by the views of national, regional and international practitioners and decision-makers, can usefully assist in global solutions being developed and implemented. In this context it is foreseen that useful ideas will be exchanged, best practices shared, joint challenges identified and all-important partnerships created or further intensified.

We will again gather friends and colleagues from 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 DIHAD 2019 Conference Programme will review the nature and anticipated impact of the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration. We will look into the manner in which the media shapes the public debate in regard to people on the move, both refugees and migrants. We will look into the underlying causes for people to uproot themselves in such large numbers and into some of the real consequences of these movements. We will then look at « Migration and Security », the impact of migrants on the safety of the host community as well as the risks faced – and too often endured – by refugees and migrants as they move away from their places of origin.. We will examine the related need for new approaches in the provision of assistance to both refugees and migrants and, lastly, look at proposed solutions in terms of their enhanced integration. A half-day Special Session will be devoted to the manner in which refugees and migrants are indeed fully incorporated in our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015. We will duly attempt, as in previous editions, to come up with a number of actionable agreed conclusions and recommendations.

On behalf of DIHAD’s International Scientific Advisory Board, it will be a great pleasure for me to welcome all who will attend the event’s 16th edition and to thank, on that occasion, those who actively contribute to the acknowledged success of the Conference, the pre-Conference Workshop and the Exhibition. This unique event, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime-Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, highlights year after year different aspects of our collective humanitarian aid and development assistance endeavours. Moreover, 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 coordinated action.

DIHAD 2019 promises to be, yet again, a landmark event!

H.E. Amb. Gerhard Putman-Cramer
Director, DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board – DISAB