On Thursday, the 19th day of the Holy Month of Ramadan, celebrations will be held across the UAE on the anniversary of Zayed Humanitarian Work Day, which corresponds with World Humanitarian Day.
At its meeting on 27th November, 2012, the Federal Cabinet decided to mark the 19th day of the Holy Month of Ramadan each year, the anniversary of the death of the UAE founding father and leading philanthropist, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as Zayed Humanitarian Work Day.
Announcing the decision, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said, "We proclaim this day as Humanitarian Work Day for the UAE, to commemorate Sheikh Zayed's spirit of philanthropy and to promote the Emirati culture of giving, the foundations of which were laid by Sheikh Zayed."
Sheikh Mohammed went on to say that, "Sheikh Zayed's name has become synonymous with generosity and giving, not only in the UAE, but in the whole world, however, he didn't like talking about his philanthropy. He was loved and cherished by the people of the world.
"UAE Humanitarian Day, which we announced during the cabinet meeting, is an annual event in which we recall with pride the life of the founding father and we plan ahead a new year of Emirati humanitarian work to promote the UAE as a global capital for humanitarian works," Sheikh Mohammed added.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid continued, "Zayed is the source of generosity and its origin, and he is the one who has instilled a love of giving in the hearts of his people, and we must remember him on this day for his humanity and generosity for all people, which made the Emirates a global humanitarian platform for giving."
The celebrations this year, which will be held on the 10th anniversary of the death of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan under the slogan "Love and Loyalty for the Generous Zayed", will witness the launch of more humanitarian and charitable initiatives through thousands of governmental and community events organised by public, private and civil institutions.
Last year, around 1,500 charity works were launched across the UAE by 270 local and federal departments to mark Zayed Humanitarian Work Day. The most notable initiative was the Campaign to Clothe One Million Children around the World'.
On 27th July, 2013, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan acclaimed the launch of Zayed Humanitarian Day in its first session, announcing his support for it, and calling on everyone – individuals, government and private institutions - to support, sponsor and participate in it to uphold the values of goodness, nobility and giving, a deep-rooted component in Emiratis, and in honour of a culture of volunteerism and humanitarian cooperation, the seed of which was planted by the late Sheikh Zayed and his brothers the Founding Fathers, and all citizens of the nation followed their legacy.
President his Highness Sheikh Khalifa said, "On this good day of the Holy Month, we are remembering all of them with love and loyalty, and pray for them as much as they gave to their country and nation and humanity as a whole, our fathers who are the generation of giving and we are proud of them." President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan praised the government and private humanitarian initiatives launched across the UAE, in response to the decision of the Cabinet to nominate the day of the departure of the late Sheikh Zayed as the day for Emirati Humanitarian Work, in commemoration of his work and humanitarian and charitable initiatives.
Sheikh Khalifa said, "Here are the donations of citizens of the nation and its community institutions, generously flowing to help the needy at home and abroad, including the Campaign to Clothe One Million Children Around the World, which H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched last year. Donations that provide for the needs of underprivileged families, sponsoring orphans, helping prisoners, and many other initiatives aimed at supporting education, health, children and family and other social areas." Sheikh Khalifa also praised all those who are contributing to the success of this day, which establishes in a strong way the benevolent humanitarian image of the United Arab Emirates, which gives the State and its citizens respect and appreciation worldwide.
This year, the anniversary of Zayed Humanitarian Work Day coincides with the announcement by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on 28th June, of the launch of UAE Suqia, or water aid campaign, to provide access to fresh drinking water for 5 million persons who suffer from shortage of potable water around the world. More than three million people around the world die annually due to a lack of access to fresh drinkable water.
The initiative aims to drill wells in areas suffering from drought or scarcity of clean water and provide them with equipment, including filtration, to help provide the basics of a decent life residents of these areas and change the reality of millions of underprivileged and needy people.
The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan established solid foundations for humanitarian action, which today constitute an approach for sustainable generosity and giving. The UAE, under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has followed these steps and now the State shines like a bright beacon in the system of international humanitarian action.
Sheikh Khalifa also emphasised this in a speech when he said, "We are following the approach of our father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan in offering development and humanitarian assistance, which have become pillars in the UAE's foreign policy." The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, during his visit to the country on May 5th, 2014, also praised the aid and humanitarian stances of the UAE President, government, institutions and individuals, and its initiatives in extending a helping hand to various peoples and nations affected by natural disasters or wars. He re-affirmed that the UAE has become one of the leading countries at a global level in the field of valued humanitarian aid provided for all people in need, regardless of geography, race or religion.
The UAE has been ranked in this advanced position in the arena of humanitarian action at the global level thanks to the noble values and concepts of humanity in the hearts of Emiratis and the desire of successive generations to alleviate the suffering of individuals and communities, as instilled by the late Sheikh Zayed.
The UAE extends its helping hand generously in the arena of humanitarian action to needy people worldwide, and provides assistance and support for them; building mosques, hospitals, health clinics and educational institutions such as schools and universities, infrastructure projects, housing, drilling wells to provide clean water, and other charity projects. It also contributes to the financing of advancement projects in developing countries to improve the quality of life of citizens and help achieve their stability and progress.
In 1992, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan established the Zayed Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works, with a capital of more than one billion dollars, in the arena of philanthropy in all fields, both within the country and all over the world.
The Foundation, since its inception 21 years ago and up to August 2013, has donated more than $460 million to various charity programmes and humanitarian projects carried out in 96 countries throughout the Arab world, Asia, Africa and Europe, in addition to a range of vital local projects.
The value of development and humanitarian aid provided by the United Arab Emirates during the period from 1971 to 2004, reached about AED90.5 billion, and more than 117 countries worldwide have benefited from this generosity, according to the latest report from MICAD, the UAE Ministry of International Cooperation and Development.
UAE ranks 1st globally in humanitarian work The march of charitable work has continued under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Appreciated by the United Nations and its humanitarian organisations, this march personifies the UAE as a centre for supporting humanitarian issues, as well as a main hub for leading relief operations across the world in cases of disasters, calamities, conflicts, violence and wars, to reduce the burden of human suffering, and maintaining human dignity.
The UN said that the UAE, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is strongly contributing to the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through its development projects around the world.
On September 30th, 2010, Dr. Elissar Sarrouh, UN Secretary-General Representative and UNDP Resident Representative in the UAE, expressed her appreciation of the role being played by the country, adding that the UAE has fulfilled its commitments and provided so much in the way of humanitarian and charity works, both at the local level and in many developing countries.
She also praised the country's humanitarian efforts in Pakistan where it is addressing the risks posed by floods as well as protecting those affected from the tragic repercussions of such natural disasters.
On April 18th, 2012, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees hailed the UAE's humanitarian role in the field of improving living conditions and preserving human dignity all over the world.
In the same context, in October 2012, the International Organisation For Migration (IOM) highlighted the UAE for its relief assistance to alleviate suffering of the displaced across the world.
On April 7th, 2014, the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development announced that the UAE became the world's largest donor country of official development assistance (ODA) for 2013, making a historic record leap in the history of foreign aid from its 19th position in 2012. The figures showed that the country's Official Development Assistance (ODA) in proportion to its Gross National Income (GNI) in 2013 amounted to US$ 5.2 billion, an increase of 375% over 2012.
In this context, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, " The UAE, now, is the first humanitarian work hub globally." His Highness continued, "Charitable work in the UAE is a legacy which was instilled in our hearts from the leader and the founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his approach is being followed by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates and the UAE people.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) said that the UAE's ranking as the world's largest donor nation is thanks to the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who devoted all his life to serve underprivileged people worldwide, calling for bolstering friendship and cooperation bonds among nations and peoples, as well as strengthening the principles of peaceful existence among peoples. A legacy which is being followed by the UAE's wise leadership.
In the same context, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, also stressed that ranking the UAE as the world's largest donor is a historic achievement which embodies the humanitarian vision of the prudent leadership and describes the solidarity values of the country and Emiratis.
He added that this sends a strong message to the world and emphasises that human values should be the main goal for countries, indicating that supporting brothers and friends during crises and catastrophes is the only way to find peace and international stability.
According to an official report issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, and the Development Assistance Commission, DAC, the UAE ranked sixteenth as the largest global foreign aid donor in 2012, contributing more than U.S. $163 billion in loans and grants from December 1971 until 2010, donating around US$2.11 billion in foreign aid in 2011 and more than $1.59 billion in 2012.
The UAE’s aid assistance has reached more than 137 countries and areas in the world and the UAE's aid programmes are handled by 43 governmental, non-governmental, humanitarian and charity bodies including 22 federal entities. These contributions exclude other generous contributions made by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
During the first half of 2013, loans and grants provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development amounted to AED58.4 billion which went towards financing 349 projects in 62 countries in the Middle East, Arab countries, North, East and Central Africa, South and Central Asia and others.
Some other UAE aid contributors include the Emirates Red Crescent, who donated around AED8 billion in national and international aid between 1983 and 2013 in 100 countries around the world, and the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, which has donated more than US$460 million since 1992 to various humanitarian projects in 96 countries.
Being a leader in its humanitarian efforts reflects the UAE's strong affiliation with many regional and international humanitarian and relief organisations and its commitment to support and alleviate the suffering of millions of people around the world.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has always stressed his keenness to promote the UAE’s partnership with the world in the field of foreign aid.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa said that as part of the UAE’s international responsibilities is the promotion of humanitarian programmes and development assistance, as well as to contribute to international peacekeeping, international reconstruction efforts and response to crises and disasters, which the President said confirms the UAE’s great involvement to maintaining international peace and security and its active contribution with various UN programmes and agencies, providing them with billions of dollars in aid.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa also said that the UAE will continue to carry out its pivotal role in supporting international efforts in response to crises and disasters, and will continue to be a global role model for providing assistance to developing countries, helping them achieve sustainable economic growth and providing them with stability.
His Highness stressed his commitment to transform the UAE’s charity work into a long-term continuous effort when he said, "Out of our responsibility and through our observation of the difficult humanitarian situations taking place in many areas around the world, the UAE’s philanthropic contributions are essentially international efforts. The UAE was involved in emergency relief efforts, the relief of victims of natural disasters, and worked to transform the UAE’s charity work into a foundation to ensure sustainability," he said.
Within this context, the UAE has provided AED2.6 billion in aid to refugees and displaced people in 71 countries between 2009 and the first half of 2014, which provided relief for victims of natural disasters, war and conflict.
A report from the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation showed that millions of refugees and displaced persons from 71 countries have benefited from the UAE’s assistance which was distributed in various regions. The UAE provided food, water, shelter, sanitation, healthcare and other support services to many countries including Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Palestine.
Other efforts include those of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, GWU, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, FDF, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, who established the Support Fund for Refugee Women in partnership with Emirates Red Crescent and the UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR. Her Highness was recognised for her generous support for the Fund, and her support for refugees and displaced victims of conflict, war and disaster.
According to the UNHCR, the number of refugees who were displaced in their own countries or fled war and violence reached 51.2 million people at the end of 2013.
The UAE has provided more than $234 million in healthcare aid to fight disease and provide polio vaccinations in many countries around the world, namely in Asia and Africa.
In light of these efforts, the UAE under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and in cooperation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates, Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, hosted the Global Vaccine Summit, which attracted around 300 Health and Development experts on April 24th, 2013.
His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, announced the provision of AED440 million in support of the global effort to eradicate polio by 2018, with a particular focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
This is the second contribution offered by His Highness to eradicate polio worldwide. His Highness and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a partnership in 2011 in which both parties contributed $100 million to purchase and deliver vaccines for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The purpose of this partnership is to spend $34 million to provide 85 million oral dose of polio vaccine in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and $66 million to deliver pneumococcal and pentavalent vaccines to Afghanistan. The partnership aims to deliver pentavalent vaccines to 3.94 million children, and pneumococcus vaccines to 3.96 million children.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, highlighted the UAE's commitment to continue in its role for international humanitarian initiatives.
His Highness said that the rescuing children from preventable diseases is a great humanitarian action that cannot be achieved unless everyone cooperates and works together. He highlighted that under the leadership and guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE has always sought to establish global partnerships to solve such important international issues.
The UAE has contributed its international efforts to provide clean water to populations in poor and marginalised areas of the world. During the past five years, The UAE completed vital projects, valued at AED 1 billion, to provide clean drinking water by drilling wells and developing river basins and water resources, preserving water resources and aiding public health in about 61 countries around the world, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and a number of West African countries, including Niger, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Cote D'Ivoire and Burundi.
The UAE Project to Assist Pakistan, UAE PAP, announced on June 28th, 2014 the implementation of 76 projects to deliver clean drinking water to needy areas in different regions of Pakistan at a cost of US$6.973 million under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to support the water sector in the poor regions of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
According to the latest international statistics from the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, there are 748 million people in the world with no access to safe and clean drinking water. 1,400 children die daily from diseases transmitted by contaminated drinking water, and inadequate health facilities and sanitation, which reflects the importance of the UAE Suqia initiative to provide safe drinking water to about five million people around the world.
Global humanitarian initiatives Over the past years, the UAE has launched many global humanitarian initiatives that serve to enhance the capabilities of millions of people in many countries, including victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts, violence and wars, hunger, poverty, disease and destitution.
Among the most important of these initiatives is the Zayed Giving Initiative which was launched in the year 2000 in partnership with the global community to reach out to millions of people with humanitarian missions in various fields of health, educational, environmental, culture and others.
Initiatives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan have been launched to support the humanitarian situation in Syria and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, support for the people of Yemen, and the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan to help their children, which includes the completion of the first phase of a large number of development, education, health, roads, bridges and water projects, among others, at a cost of more than 113 million US Dollars.
In a new humanitarian initiative, on June 10th, 2014, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, directed the allocation of AED192 million for urgent humanitarian aid to support the steadfastness of the brotherly people in the Gaza Strip.
The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) is managing the aid, with the follow-up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, regarding the supervision and immediate implementation of this aid.
The Emirates Red Crescent was also directed to establish a field hospital in the integrated sector, to be completely fitted out to help the victims of the Israeli aggression which has claimed the lives of hundreds of martyrs and thousands of wounded, innocent civilians, women and children.
The Emirates Red Crescent quickly began security procedures, sending relief convoys to those affected by the events in Gaza, and implementing field hospitals in the sector to provide medical provision services to the wounded and injured.
Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also launched in 2007 the initiative Dubai Cares in response to the appeals of 'international humanitarian organisations to provide education and decent lives for millions of children in developing countries around the world, and in 2006 launched the Noor Dubai initiative for the prevention of blindness and visual impairment, and the Nabadat initiative, which means heartbeat, to provide treatment for children who were born with congenital anomalies.
The General Assembly of the United Nations decided on December 11th, 2008 to name August 19th of each year as World Humanitarian Day, which marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. The day commemorates humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes, as well as drawing attention to humanitarian needs in all parts of the world, the importance of international cooperation in meeting those needs, and to honour workers in the field of humanitarian assistance throughout the world who are engaged in the work of saving lives of people in harsh and dangerous circumstances.
The United Nations confirmed reports that more than 1.5 billion people, or nearly a quarter of the world's population, live in countries where raging violent conflicts, wars and devastating natural disasters occur. The reports showed continued occurrence of various disasters over the past decade, with an estimated 700 disasters per year affecting almost 270 million people around the world, which makes it a necessity to double the efforts of international communities, humanitarian organisations, and countries, to protect human life and dignity; especially children and women who are among the most affected by these disasters, conflicts and wars.
Dubai Cares: Sheikh Zayed’s vision for the UAE
On the occasion of Zayed Humanitarian Work Day, Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic organisation working to improve children’s access to quality primary education in developing countries, is reminding UAE citizens of Sheikh Zayed’s focus on building a country rooted in humanity.
Speaking about the impact the UAE’s founding father has had on Dubai Cares, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, said, "Sheikh Zayed’s vision for the U.A.E. was underpinned by deep humanity and generosity of spirit. He built a progressive nation that is known around the globe as a nation rooted in its local traditions whilst building its future with a global outlook.
"This forward-thinking attitude has also made us a formidable voice in the global conversation surrounding education and a strong advocate of its potential to lift nations out of poverty. Dubai Cares reflects this commitment by empowering children – regardless of their nationality, creed or religion – with quality primary education. Through our work in developing countries around the globe, we are creating a legacy of impactful developmental work that Sheikh Zayed inspired and nurtured."
Over the past seven years, Dubai Cares, with the support of the UAE community, has been facilitating change and development in children’s education in developing communities around the globe.
Through its programmes so far, the organisation has built and renovated over 1,500 classrooms, provided more than 1,300 water wells and potable water sources and constructed over 3,400 latrines in schools, provided nutritious food every day to more than 504,000 children in schools, trained over 38,000 teachers, kept more than 2.7 million children free from intestinal worms through its school-based de-worming activities, distributed over 2.1 million books written in local languages and established over 6,750 Parent-Teacher Associations.
For Ramadan 2014, Dubai Cares launched the "What If?" Ramadan campaign, which draws attention to the realities faced by children in the developing world and the impact that lack of education holds for their future.
The UAE community, both individual and corporate, are invited to get involved in Dubai Cares "What If?" Ramadan campaign by making donations, and details of donation methods are available on the Dubai Cares web-site.
Minister of Environment and Waters hails Zayed Humanitarian Work Day
Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water, has said the Zayed Humanitarian Work Day commemorates the death anniversary of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, and humanitarian work in the country.
He added that the commemoration of Sheikh Zayed "Is a message of love to a man who had devoted his entire life to his religion, country and people", noting that Zayed inculcated the themes of giving and philanthropy among Emiratis.
The minister underlined that the humanitarian aid extended by the UAE to the needy worldwide has become "synonymous with the name of the UAE across the globe."
Dr. Fahd said Sheikh Zayed left a huge humanitarian legacy that still inspires Emiratis.
Zayed was symbol of giving, global peace pioneer: Minister of Education
Hussein Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education has said late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, had established systems of values that contributed to the prosperity, global peace, and stability.
"He was symbol of giving and pioneer of global peace. Zayed was also a vibrant heart of Arab and Islamic world. He sustained tolerance in line with the teachings of Islam irrespective of race, gender and colour," the Minister said.
Al Hammadi noted that the UAE has experienced prosperity in all fields, thanks to the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed.