UN welcomes first Middle Eastern member of UN-OCHA Donor Support Group

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) welcomed a decision by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to become the first country in the Middle East to join OCHA’s Donor Support Group. At a meeting held on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, the UAE pledged an annual contribution of US $300,000 to the agency.

OCHA officials expressed confidence that the decision would lead to greater UAE involvement with multinational organisations in delivering aid in the region. Ivo Freijsen, head of OCHA’s regional office in Dubai, described the move as “a starting point for more collaboration with the UAE and a launch-pad for increased participation in multilateral humanitarian response coordination”.

The Abu Dhabi meeting, dubbed “Regional Partnerships in Humanitarian Response”, was held with the aim of strengthening links between OCHA’s Donor Support Group (ODSG) and Middle Eastern countries. It was hosted for the second consecutive year by the UAE Red Crescent, and was attended by representatives of ODSG member countries, along with those of several Middle Eastern countries including the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.

The UAE’s decision to become the support group’s twentieth member “comes as part of the UAE’s responsibility to support international humanitarian efforts to alleviate the suffering of people living in disaster- and conflict-prone areas”, said UAE Deputy Prime Minister and head of UAE Red Crescent Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He also emphasised the need to develop effective ways to coordinate and strengthen partnerships among the group’s member nations.

“The current humanitarian scene calls for leveraging cooperation among UN agencies and NGOs to enhance dialogue, exchange information and develop ideas for effective humanitarian work,” Sheikh Hamdan said.