The humanitarian landscape must develop better roadmaps to foresee emergencies and provide effective responses to humanity’s ever-changing stance, opined Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and chairperson of the International Humanitarian City (IHC).
She made the statement during her keynote address at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (Dihad) that kicked off on Monday under the theme ‘Sustainability in emergency aid’. She said the humanitarian sector has failed to deliver aid and respond effectively to emergencies and crises.
Princess Haya called for developing sustainable solutions and providing better responses and forecasting before disasters turn into emergencies. “We are the custodians of limited physical and human resources. yet, evidence show that we are emptying our cups faster than we can refill them.”
She urged humanitarian agencies to redefine emergencies and have a more joined up approach towards crises. “It can’t be sustainable for humanitarian sector to continue to fight in the way it has had in recent years.”
With currently 16 countries struggling with political violence that damaged economies, food productions, health systems and left millions starving, Princess Haya called for more collaboration among countries and persistence to face underlying challenges.
She said the humanitarian sector has largely been shaking by the growing political nationalism and xenophobia that caused foreign aid cuts and the general scrutiny facing agencies. “It is important that we don’t get distracted from the vital work we should continue to do. People’s lives are quite literally in our hands.”
Today, 498 million people live in countries ragged by conflicts. About 850 million people worldwide (one in nine) lack food resources. Tens of millions of dollars that might have supported world developments are now being diverted to conflict areas.
The 15th edition of Dihad will witness the participation of over 600 companies from 84 countries around the world coming together to work on a roadmap for humanitarian assistance. The conference will conclude on March 7.