Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, President of the UAE Committee for Coordination of Humanitarian Foreign Aid, opened the Regional Humanitarian in Action Conference being held until 26th February at the International Humanitarian City, IHC, in Dubai, organised in collaboration with Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) and Oversees International Development (OID).

Hosting the Conference in the UAE and at the IHC in particular is in line with the objectives of the IHC Strategy 2015-2021, launched last month by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum .

In her opening speech, Sheikha Lubna emphasised the UAE’s growing role in the humanitarian arena, and that the UAE foreign aid ratio is an important indicator that reflects the ability to respond to various humanitarian crises around the world, it also mirrors the clear vision of the UAE leadership towards serving the humanitarian sector locally and internationally, capitalising on the competitive advantages of the UAE and its strong international relations with many countries.

Sheikha Lubna pointed out that strengthening the regional approach and improving the overall efficiency of humanitarian work positively reflects national and international support and efforts to strengthen international development and humanitarian work in various forms, in addition to the value of collective improvement to enhance the response to natural disasters and complex emergencies, through the involvement of humanitarian institutions’ regional work and partnerships that encourage innovation, highlighting the important role of donors in the Middle East.

This is the first of its kind conference that brings together intergovernmental organisations to discuss what needs to be done to improve humanitarian work at the regional level.

The IHC, through its “Connect: Humanity” pillar, is seeking to be the centre of a global humanitarian network, hosting innovative workshops to overcome the challenges faced by workers in the humanitarian sector, taking into account the importance of cooperation and coordination between all local and international humanitarian organisations.

Through this unique gathering of humanitarian experts coming from different countries, field researches and experiences will be reviewed and discussed for better future coordination to draw systematic steps and common humanitarian action. There is no doubt that the combined efforts and efficiency of relief operations in the field rely heavily on effective and successful partnerships among humanitarian organisations.

Ibrahim Bu Melha, the Cultural and Humanitarian Adviser to the Ruler of Dubai, portrayed a picture for the current humanitarian scene during his speech and emphasised the challenges and constraints related to access to the affected areas, the security issues and lack of aid resources, in addition to other challenges faced by international humanitarian organisations in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and during the Ebola virus outbreak, as well as hurricanes and humanitarian disasters that have hit East Asia, stressing the importance of the UAE’s role in general, and IHC in particular, to overcome those obstacles and challenges.