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14 December 2011, GA, Permanent Representative's Statement on Strengthening the Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance

Mr. President, the international community has witnessed, during the past two years, a significant increase in incidents of natural disasters, continued conflicts and emerging of new ones. All of which resulted in doubling the numbers of displaced persons and people needing immediate, as well as , long term humanitarian assistance. Despite the solidarity and quick response of the international community to confront disasters, the challenges facing the International humanitarian activities remain big and numerous and require more efforts, resources and international cooperation. It is important here to commend the essential role played by the United Nations in the mobilization and coordination of the international humanitarian activities to achieve immediate humanitarian response in affected developing countries which do not have the national capacities to respond effectively during emergencies. We also appreciate the Organization’s role in mobilizing efforts and necessary resources to help those countries in rebuilding their societies and recover after relief. This highlights the importance of global partnership and the support, in all ways possible, of the UN efforts, especially in relation to providing the necessary and sufficient financial support for its bodies and entities concerned with humanitarian and development activities so as to enable it to play its vital role in the affected countries during and after emergencies.

Mr. President, the enormous losses and the weak capacities for immediate response by some of the affected countries during the last few years, had underscored the importance of building and strengthening national capacities and preparedness to deal with disasters, as an important element in reducing human losses and achieving quick recovery.

The UAE believes that building national capacities of countries is strongly linked to providing the necessary resources for achieving the requirements of sustainable development in those countries .Therefore the UAE gives high importance to contributing in a major way to the international partnership for development. This in addition to presenting immediate humanitarian assistance directly to countries affected by natural disasters, climate change and armed conflicts. The UAE presents its contribution through a number of channels including direct bilateral channels, the various UN bodies, financing long term development humanitarian and development activities implemented by the UN and regional organizations, as well as global initiatives, humanitarian and development projects that we implement with partnership with the UN bodies and other international partners. The UAE, when presenting humanitarian assistance, is committed to adhering to the principles of neutrality and humanitarianism and non discrimination.

In 2010 the UAE contributed 0.33% of its JDI for official development assistance, ranking 14 in the world measured in comparison to its gross domestic production. 14.3% of the total amount for ODA was earmarked to humanitarian development assistance to affected countries. The amount of assistance presented and pledged by the UAE government and other humanitarian and development institutions in the country during 2010-2011, is estimated to be around two billion dollars donated as grants and loans for humanitarian and development projects in different parts of the world, where it contributed to the financing of a wide scope of projects , such as shelters for the displaced, providing food, digging wells, conflict resolution, building dams, highways , schools and hospitals.

Besides the government, the UAE has a number of donors toped by Abu Dhabi Fund for development, the UAE Red Crescent Authority, Khalifa Foundation, Zayed Foundation, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment and Dubai Care, and other entities, all of which contribute in projects in 100 countries around the world. In the mean time, the UAE is a major member and contributor in a number of international partnerships for long term development assistance to countries affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts to support their economic, security and social institutions, such as the Group of “Friends ofYemen”, “Friends of a democratic Pakistan”, the international efforts to rebuild Afghanistan and the Contact group on Piracy off the coasts of Somalia. 

Mr. President, the Palestinian people continue to suffer from very difficult economic and humanitarian conditions, especially in the Gaza Strip which is still subjected to the siege imposed by the Israeli occupying forces for the past four years. In this regard, we demand that Israel, the occupying power, be compelled by the International Community to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, open all the passages immediately to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people end its occupation of the Arab lands and resume the peace negotiations according to relevant international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. We further urge the donor countries to continue their assistance to the Palestinian people and government in anticipation of the end of the Israeli occupation of their land and the establishment of their independent state. 

The United Arab Emirates is committed to continue providing humanitarian and development assistance to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority until the liberation of their land from the Israeli occupation. The UAE is one of the major contributors to the immediate humanitarian assistance and development projects as well as to the direct budget of the Palestinian Authority. Our contribution in 2010 alone amounted to 98,6 million dollars earmarked to support the government and development projects.

We reaffirm our support to UNRWA and stress the importance of its role in helping the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. We demand that UNRWA workers and assistance should have easy access to the Palestinian refugees in all areas of its operations. We further stress the necessity of providing UNRWA with sufficient financial support so it can continue its humanitarian and developmental activities in the area.
Thank you,