HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE. Ruler of Dubai, joined Kofi Annan and other prominent humanitarian figures in launching the Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF). Headquartered in Geneva, the Forum will foster dialogue and partnerships that strengthen the international community’s ability to address current and future humanitarian challenges. The Forum will promote turning ideas into action for the benefit of people who are most vulnerable and in need of humanitarian aid and will aim at generating increased investment in prevention-oriented activities.

Her Highness was chosen to become a member of the Foundation board due to her growing international humanitarian profile, and in recognition of her dedication to humanitarian causes. Princess Haya was named as a Messenger of Peace by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month and had served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food program from 2005 to 2007, during which she conducted working visits to some of the least privileged communities in the world in an effort to draw attention to the effects that hunger and poverty have on people’s lives.

The Global Humanitarian Forum is a non-partisan, open and proactive forum that favors a cross-cultural, cross-sectoral and pan-regional approach while working within a spirit of responsible global citizenship and high ethical standards and common humanitarian values and principles. It will seek to engage a wide range of groups as stakeholders to ensure the cross-fertilization of ideas and a multidisciplinary approach. The GHF will also strive to be at the cutting-edge of humanitarian policy. It intends to place particular emphasis on helping to generate increased investment in prevention-based activities.

Meeting prior to the launch, the Forum’s Board agreed on the objectives and strategic work plan of the organization. The Forum will engage in a variety of activities and events including expert workshops to establish stronger links across sectors, and will also commission targeted research. In its first phase the Forum will focus on the humanitarian impact of climate change on the poor and most vulnerable, which Mr Annan called “one of the most significant emerging humanitarian concerns we now face.” The work of the Forum will feed into and follow-up on an annual high-level meeting, the first of which is scheduled for June 2008.

The launch of the GHF marked the International Day Against Poverty of October 17, and Her Highness delivered a recorded message calling for people to accept the responsibility to address issues like hunger and poverty first and foremost “if we are to achieve peace and stability at an international level.” She said, “I am honored to add my energy to a community that fights for making a better world for our children. As a Messenger for Peace, I completely embrace the Millennium Development Goals. By growing up in my part of the world, I can see that by addressing this essential platform of the fight against poverty, we will achieve peace in our lifetime.”

In the United Arab Emirates, Princess Haya in her capacity as Chairperson of the International Humanitarian City (IHC) is endorsing the “Stand Up Speak Out” campaign organized by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) in association with the Art of Living (AOL) and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV). The campaign aims at engaging maximum number of individuals in an effort to create a global call and a unified voice calling for an end to poverty and hunger. This global campaign aims to involve millions in its commitment to inspiring governments to end poverty and inequality and it abides by the deadline to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

In the Millennium Declaration of 2000, world leaders committed to ending hunger, providing universal primary education, ensuring gender equality, improving child and maternal health, combating fatal diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and promoting global partnerships. Last year, 23.5 million people stood up against poverty in a 24-hour period, setting a World Record. This year, more people are expected to stand up to set a new world record.

Recently, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as a global leader in demonstration of his support for the Millennium Development Goals, announced the Dubai Cares Initiative to promote primary education across the world. The Stand Up and Speak Out” campaign will further boost UAE’s support to the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The GHF Foundation Board included the following members:
– Mr Kofi Annan as the Board President (Ghana)
– HRH Princes Haya Bint Al Hussein – Messenger of Peace and President of the International Humanitarian City (Jordan)
– Ms Catherine Bertini (USA)
– Mr Lakhdar Brahimi (Algeria)
– Mr Michel Camdessus (France)
– Ms Mary Chinery-Hesse (Ghana)
– Mr Jan Egeland (Norway)
– Mr Jacques Forster (Switzerland)
– Mr Blaise Godet (Switzerland)
– Mr Dean Hirsch (USA)
– Mr Alois Hirschmugl (Austria)
– Mr Hans Küng (Switzerland)
– Mr Ricardo Lagos (Chile)
– Mr Rajendra Pachauri (India)
– Mr Ivan Pictet (Switzerland)
– Ms Mary Robinson (Ireland)
– Mr Amartya Sen (India)
– Ms Barbara Stocking (UK)
– Ms Marianna Vardinoyannis (Greece)
– Mr James Wolfensohn (Australia)
– Mr Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh)