Humanitarian, development work must keep pace with technology: Mohammed

Brainstorming session for Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives Foundation

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has stressed that humanitarian and development work should keep pace with, and benefit from technology developments and work in an institutional manner to fulfil the UAE's vision of transforming into a real humanitarian capital.

Sheikh Mohammed was addressing a brainstorming session at Bab Al Shams Resort for the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives Foundation, launched in October to consolidate the work of 28 organisations focusing on four main sectors - fighting poverty and illness, spreading knowledge and culture, empowering the community and driving innovation.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and members of the foundation's Board of Trustees and Executive Committee attended the session aimed at producing a roadmap to fulfil the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for changing the lives of some 130 million people by 2025.

"You are my humanitarian working team. We need to unify and coordinate efforts to benefit from the resources of all 28 members of our global Initiatives because today, global humanitarian work is run by large organisations and also because we should advance to new levels of humanitarian work based on the experiences, resources and personnel of all the members," Sheikh Mohammed told his team.

Sheikh Mohammed and Al Gergawi at the session

By 2025, the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives Foundation hopes to have supported and educated 20 million children, and prevented or treated blindness and eye diseases for 30 million people. It will invest Dh2 billion in medical research centres and hospitals in the region, and Dh500 million in research projects addressing water shortages, a major challenge facing this region.

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the foundation’s secretary general, said, "The brainstorming session was aimed at identifying the foundation's strategic directions and future large-scale initiatives. This foundation is a special one because it is headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, includes his own sons and family members and takes humanitarian work in the UAE to a new and different phase. The efforts of the foundation's 28 organisations will be synergised to implement over 1,400 human development, relief and community programmes in more than 114 countries, consolidate the UAE's stature as a humanitarian and development actor to focus on many development challenges in a different and innovative manner."

"The vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid was to launch a large-scale and comprehensive development programme focusing on human development in an integrated manner starting with providing the basic human needs, from health, fighting illiteracy and poverty through to providing knowledge, the dissemination of culture and the development of education. It will work in parallel on developing a new generation of young Arab leaders, supporting real change in the area of good governance in the region and providing the largest incubator for Arab innovators, scientists and researchers."

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation will continue with its relief work and will empower more than two million families, enabling them to become self-sufficient within the next ten years. It will also support young entrepreneurs in order to provide more than half a million jobs over the next few years.

In the field of spreading knowledge and science, and encouraging the translation of key works into Arabic, the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives will work on printing and distributing more than 10 million books, and the translation of the top 25,000 titles from all languages to Arabic, as well as continuing with promoting a vibrant reading culture among school students. The foundation will support programmes that aim to see over than 500 million books read over the next ten years across the Arab World. The investment in educational, knowledge, and scientific initiatives will total Dh1.5 billion to create real change in this sector to develop modern education methods to fulfill future needs.

Sheikh Mohammed addressing the brainstorming session

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives will work within its overall development strategy on establishing a new culture in societies based on tolerance and intercultural openness.

To achieve this goal, the foundation has dedicated more than Dh600 million to promote a transparent and lively media dialogue and also to enable communities to live in harmony, away from extremism, ethnic, religious or sectarian discrimination. It will commit Dh150 million for encouraging creative people, intellectuals, and journalists to create cultural discourse that is based in empowering communities, enhancing their cohesion, and increasing their cultural creativity. The institution will target over a million participants in awards and forums related to community empowerment over the next 10 years.

As part of its overall vision to develop the region, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives will support innovation and scientists in the region by fostering 5,000 innovators and researchers and will invest more than Dh5.5 billion in building a better, world-standard environment for innovators in the region. This reflects Sheikh Mohammed’s belief that nations without innovation cease to evolve and build leadership of the future.

The foundation will also focus on fostering entrepreneurship by supporting and nurturing 50,000 young entrepreneurs and supporting the establishment of new companies that will provide 500,000 job opportunities in the region during the coming years. All of this is part of the institution’s comprehensive development vision to contribute, even if for just a little bit, towards eradicating unemployment and providing Arab youth with a dignified life, preventing them from being misguided and lured to terrorism.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives Foundation is managed by a board of trustees which includes all programmes, institutions and awards launched by His Highness in the previous years in preparation for a new era of humanitarian and global development work where these institutions can focus on specific development goals of specific geographic areas, as well as take optimal advantage of available resources.

The annual operating budget for the new foundation is over Dh1 billion and it will work in general within 116 countries focusing mainly on the Arab region in the coming period.

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