The Principles of UAE Humanitarianism

  • 10 May 2014

The UAE’s philosophy of humanitarian work is based on principles that emphasize solidarity with other nations during times of crisis and disaster, irrespective of political considerations or interests. This philosophy was recently reiterated by H.H. Sheikh Hamadan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Organization, in a statement to mark annual World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day on May 8, 2014:“The pure humanitarian motive comes before any other criteria that govern the process of charitable giving; it guides UAE foreign aid objectives and ensures independence from any political agenda.”

The UAE, under the leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is a regional and international model for the provision of aid, thanks to this humanitarian approach rooted in clear basic principles.The first of these principles is ethical in nature; UAE humanitarian aid is aimed at helping nations and peoples in various regions, free of any considerations based on race, religion or geography. This reflects the UAE’s deeply-held belief in the values of human solidarity and collaboration, and is rooted in the cultural and societal heritage of the Emirati people and their commitment to helping those in need. It also stems from the charitable tradition established by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and enhanced by the UAE President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has become a global symbol for humanitarianism.

The second principle is based on the understanding that humanitarian work is essential to achieving global peace and security.The UAE recognizes that fast and effective humanitarian efforts to relieve human suffering in conflict zones and disaster-affected areas enhance trust, communication and cooperation between nations, thereby promoting peace and stability across the globe.

The third principle is born of the belief that the effects of humanitarian work are not limited to the immediate relief of its recipients, but also contribute to long-term societal and development goals. As such, while the UAE’s humanitarian initiatives are motivated by the need to mitigate the effects of crises and natural disasters, they are also designed to improve health and education conditions in poor societies.In this respect the UAE has become a prominent donor worldwide, and its development initiatives in various countries have played an important role in building basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals and water networks, which are key components in the comprehensive and sustainable development of those countries.This is highlighted by the fact that the UAE contributed more official development assistance (ODA) in relation to gross national income (GNI) than any other nation in 2013, according to a report issued in April 2014 by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The UAE has successfully established a unique humanitarian approach and, in the words of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has truly become “the humanitarian capital of the world.”

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