SEATTLE — A host of agencies in the UAE are making significant contributions to the developing world through development assistance projects and humanitarian aid.
It is rare that the efforts of governmental and NGO humanitarian aid agencies are recognized for their contributions to those suffering around the world. With split opinions regarding foreign aid flooding the news, it is currently difficult to see the headway that foreign aid is making in some regions. Despite the negative criticism, however, there are individuals who desperately need help and agencies committed to providing it exist too.
In particular, agencies in the UAE, which have contributed billions of dollars in development assistance and humanitarian aid, also made a considerable impact on reducing the immediate and long term effects of poverty and underdevelopment. According to the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD), the UAE as a whole contributed 1.17 percent of its Gross National Income to development assistance projects – Dh 18 billion dollars or approximately 5 billion US dollars. Countries benefiting from these development projects include Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan, and Libya.
The UAE’s contribution to foreign assistance, though not often highlighted, is also not new. The Emirates Red Crescent, established in 1983, was recognized in 2001 as one of the best humanitarian aid organizations in Asia. The Emirates Red Crescent has made contributions to both domestic and overseas development projects, involving the construction of shelter, schools and basic infrastructure, such as water pipelines.
Similarly, Dubai-based organization International Humanitarian City (IHC) also made significant impact on the UAE’s substantial humanitarian assistance contributions. The IHC is known as a global hub for the distribution and procurement of international assistance as well as financial support. Members of the IHC are able to disperse assistance to countries around the globe in a timely and cost efficient manner.
Just recently, the IHC gave US $1 million dollars to The World Food Program to help feed 300,000 Syrian refugees. Refugees living in Jordan were affected by a severe snowstorm in January. With the IHC’s contribution, the World Food Program was able to distribute food vouchers to refugees, so that they could procure food items during times of inclement weather.
The World Food Program said, “The UAE Government has continuously shown its solidarity with the plight of the Syrian people. In 2014, it made a generous contribution of US$31 million towards WFP emergency humanitarian operations for the Syria crisis.”
Despite popular belief, foreign assistance and development aid is an important part of the global agenda. The difference both can make is profound for those who are in desperate need. Whether from the UAE, the UN or a host of NGOs, foreign aid addresses a humanitarian need that would have otherwise not been met.
– Candice Hughes