Chaired by UN Messenger of Peace HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the International Humanitarian City (IHC) had a chance to showcase its achievements and activities at the region’s main humanitarian conference – the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development (DIHAD) Conference and Exhibition.

IHC is an independent free zone authority working to meet the needs of global humanitarian actors and following HRH’s vision that humanity is all about giving & also about enabling those who want to give, IHC has grown rapidly to consist of 54 organizations. These include UN agencies, international and regional NGOs, as well as commercial companies supplying aid-related goods and services.

IHC did not just have the biggest presence at the DIHAD exhibition, it was also invited attend the conference and share its role as the main facilitator of humanitarian operations in Dubai. In addition, it was the platinum sponsor for the event this year.

Ms. Makiya Al Hajiri, CEO of IHC, was the lead speaker on the concluding day of the conference. She thanked HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his patronage of this important event and HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein for opening the DIHAD 2010 conference. She also congratulated the organizers of DIHAD and highlighted the value of the event, saying “IHC was pleased to be associated with DIHAD 2010. We had a chance to meet key humanitarian organizations and learn more about the important challenges facing the world today. IHC is a symbol of Dubai’s interest and commitment in the humanitarian sector, and DIHAD gave us a valuable opportunity to exhibit our efforts.”

Being the only hub of its kind, IHC provides a strategic and secure location for the global humanitarian aid and development community. The customized services and facilities provided, in addition to the UAE’s geographical advantage, have been successful in enabling emergency humanitarian response in a timely and efficient manner.

IHC members – both UN and NGO’s – have been among the first to respond to recent global emergencies such as the conflicts in Gaza, Pakistan and Sri Lanka or the natural disasters that hit the Philippines & Haiti. In January, at the request of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and under HRH Princess Haya’s leadership, IHC helped organize a shipment to Haiti that included 90 metric tonnes of aid, in 24 hours.

In this role as a key humanitarian emergency response hub, the conference and exhibition were especially relevant to IHC’s scope of work. Apart from sharing its experience during recent disasters, such as the Haiti Earthquake, it also had the opportunity to get some in-depth understanding about the major health problems that occur during humanitarian emergencies, as well long-term health and humanitarian challenges.

IHC strives to be an important platform for knowledge exchange, partnership building and community outreach in Dubai and the UAE. It has both supported and initiated projects to raise awareness about humanitarian issues, including public campaigns, student seminars, informational workshops and conferences such as DIHAD.