King patronises opening of first International Humanitarian Forum in Riyadh
RIYADH, February 26 (CIC) – The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, on Monday inaugurated an electronic platform for Saudi international aid at the opening of the Kingdom’s first International Humanitarian Forum in Riyadh.
The two-day event in the Saudi capital provides a unique opportunity to look at changing global humanitarian needs and to formulate new practical and efficient responses.
King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) has organized the event – which has brought together professionals and key decision makers in the humanitarian community – to help build on the conclusions of previous international forums and strengthen and generate commitments to help reduce suffering and to deliver assistance more efficiently to those in need.
Saudi Arabia has long been a regional leader in humanitarian affairs and has demonstrated a profound commitment to supporting those most in need across the world. To promote this inspirational humanitarian spirit the Kingdom established KSrelief in 2015.
Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Advisor-Royal Court and Supervisor General KSrelief, said in a speech that the centre, since its inception under HM King Salman’s directive, has been able to contribute to alleviating humanitarian suffering of affected communities in 40 countries on four continents through 341 relief projects.
Speaking directly to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Dr. Al Rabeeah remarked, “In May of 2015, Your Majesty directed the establishment of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre as a leading international humanitarian centre to convey the precious values of our homeland, which are derived from the teachings of our tolerant Islamic religion to the whole world. KSrelief embodies the humanitarian role of the Kingdom and its universal message calling for peace and rejecting terrorism and destruction.”
These KSrelief projects are, he continued, “conveying an honorable picture of the human dimension being pursued by this generous country, its leadership, and its benevolent people, apart from any other motives, through partnerships with United Nations organizations and international and local non-profits.”
“Today, the Centre celebrates the inauguration of the platform of Saudi aid established upon Your Majesty’s directive, and in implementation of your royal order at King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, as it is the first platform in the region of this size to present the Kingdom’s contributions of relief, humanitarian and development efforts with the participation of various ministries with concerned authorities in the Kingdom and built according to highest international standards.”
Continuing to address the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, Dr Al Rabeeah said, “Your grace of the ceremony coincides with the issuance of the Centre’s first edition of the International Humanitarian Journal dealing with scientific research on humanitarian and relief through which it will be possible to support the areas in need of relief and humanitarian efforts and to develop humanitarian works there.”
Following these remarks, King Salman and audience members viewed a documentary entitled “The Humanitarian Situation in the World”. At the conclusion to the film, a recorded speech by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres was screened. In the speech, he thanked the Kingdom for organizing the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum.
The U.N. chief said, “As needs increase more than ever, we must do more to assist afflicted people and ensure the protection of civilians. The crises in Syria, Iraq, Libya and occupied Palestinian territories have caused a great deal of suffering, however, humanitarian workers face many obstacles to reach the needy, including threats to their (own) lives.”
He said humanitarian activities have been effective and that timely action is of paramount importance. Last year, the international community contributed to averting the threats of famine from southern Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and north-eastern Nigeria. Donor support, he continued, made the difference between life and death.
Secretary General Guterres called on international and local leaders, and governments and peoples everywhere to embrace solidarity with people suffering from conflicts, disasters and instability.
The forum hosted representatives from several nations, including many civil societies and NGOs, as well as KSrelief partners that include the heads of international humanitarian agencies, the private sector entities, academic institutions and specialized research groups.
In a statement released prior to the Humanitarian Forum, KSrelief had said that Forum attendees would review and adapt previous humanitarian initiatives to reflect the latest developments and conditions on the ground to better serve the victims of conflict, including refugees and others urgently in need of assistance.
According to Dr. Al Rabeeah, the majority of KSrelief’s programs have focused on Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Somalia. KSrelief’s 120 humanitarian partners include UN member agencies as well as many other international and domestic NGOs. The main project sectors served by the centre are: Food Security, Health (with special focus on Women and Children), Nutrition, Water and Sanitation and Education, in addition to special projects – one of which provides rehabilitation programs for former child soldiers in Yemen.
KSrelief is also very active in refugee programs, Dr. Al Rabeeah had said. One project near completion comprises a 300-unit residential village in Djibouti to house Yemeni refugees and provide them with schools and health care facilities. The Kingdom has also received 561,000 Yemenis, 262,000 Syrians and 249,000 Rohingya from Burma. They are welcomed into Saudi society and have access to public health care, education and employment opportunities.
The forum is scheduled to deal with such issues as funding capacities for humanitarian work, innovation and reform in the humanitarian sector, and localization of aid.