Kuwait marks third anniversary of UN honour as officials pay tribute to Amir
Edited by the (Middle East Times Int'l)
)Translation of this article appears in Arabic section(
Kuwait has marked the third anniversary of UN recognition of the state as a global humanitarian centre and of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as a global humanitarian leader for his charitable work around the planet.
Through diplomacy, Kuwait was able to draw the attention of the international community to the humanitarian efforts of the country and His Highness the Amir.
On September 9, 2014, the United Nations granted Kuwait the title of Humanitarian Centre and HIs Highness the Amir as a Humanitarian Leader.
The former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon praised the efforts of His Highness the Amir, who helped enable international organisations to face the suffering, wars and disasters of the world.
Kuwait has shown extraordinary generosity under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and despite the small size of the country, its heart was greater than crises, poverty, and epidemics, Ban said.
He pointed out that the initiatives undertaken by Kuwait, and the Amir, prompted the international community to render more assistance.
"His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has shown remarkable acts of human kindness and generosity and Kuwait exemplary humanitarian leadership in the support of humanitarian operations in nations in crisis around the world".
"We are here to pay tribute to the humanitarian leadership of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. We thank the Amir and the people of Kuwait for their outstanding generosity towards Syrians and Iraqis in need," he said at a ceremony in New York.
His Highness Sheikh Sabah announced that Kuwait would double its annual contribution to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CEFR) to US$1 million. The Amir said Kuwait, since its independence and gaining UN membership, has followed a steady approach in its foreign policy, based essentially on humanitarian assistance to all needy countries regardless of location, religious beliefs or ethnic origins.
Kuwaiti charitable associations and peoples' fundraising committees have set an example in their continued support of many humanitarian projects in Asia and Africa, by individual initiatives that have become a shining example of benevolence characterizing the Kuwaiti people, said His Highness the Amir.
He added that in 2008, Kuwait earmarked 10 percent of its total humanitarian assistance to countries affected by natural or man-made disasters to be channeled to UN organisations and specialised agencies active in the humanitarian field.
"This was followed by official decisions to double the fixed annual voluntary contributions to a number of international agencies and organizations such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)", His Highness said.
He added that the Kuwaiti people kept offering aid for the needy people even when they faced hardships in the past, such as the 1990-91 Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait.
His Highness the Amir pointed out that the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), which was established in 1961, was an expression of sincere desire of Kuwait in providing assistance to Arab states and friendly countries through providing soft loans and technical assistance.
Kuwait, noted the Kuwaiti leader, hosted three donors' conferences for the Syrian people in 2013 and 2014 when US$3.6 billion was pledged, of which Kuwait contributed US$800 million.
His Highness the Amir highlighted the UN's important role to confronting challenges facing social peace and political security around the world.
His Highness the Amir has made Kuwait a pioneer country in humanitarian philanthropy and international humanitarian initiatives, in addition to making Kuwait a leading center for many related activities.
He is also keen to participate personally in conferences concerned with humanitarian work, chiefly his chairmanship of Kuwait's delegation to the World Summit for Humanitarian Action in Turkey last year.
During his speech at the Istanbul summit, Sheikh Sabah said that Kuwait has always known for its absolute faith in humanitarian principles and has adopted a policy that affirms this approach and urges humanitarian assistance to people and countries in need.
He pointed out that "the challenges and the problems facing humanity and the world are serious, especially as we meet under the auspices of the United Nations and in accordance with its charter and the role and powers of its specialized agencies that enable us to work within it to achieve our goals."
The humanitarian efforts of Kuwait continue in 2017, especially in crisis-stricken Arab states. Initiatives have been varied to include relief convoys and large campaigns, most notably the campaigns in Al-Quds.
The UN honour for Kuwait and His Highness the Amir enjoyed unprecedented international, regional and local accolades by senior leaders and officials of international organizations and personalities who have paid tribute to Kuwait's unprecedented efforts.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during his visit to Kuwait in August 2017, praised the role of Kuwait and its Amir in promoting humanitarian action.
Guterres said it was an enormous honor and pleasure to be in Kuwait again and "very clearly pay tribute not only to what has been the humanitarian leadership I've witnessed in my position and that led my predecessor to appoint you as the Humanitarian Leader, but today it's much more than that."
Guterres also highly commended the crucial role and efforts by the State of Kuwait in all political and humanitarian issues.
"I consider Kuwait to be the voice of equilibrium, with dialogue and wisdom in the region. When I see the entire crisis, from Syria to Yemen to the new Gulf crisis, not to mention all the other places of crisis, your leadership has been the leadership of tolerance, dialogue and the bringing of people together," said Guterres.
He said Kuwait has "no agenda but peace, understanding, security, and this was what led me during the beginning of the crisis in the Gulf to say that the United Nations policy is very simple; it is to support Kuwaiti mediation.
"We don't want to have a protagonist. We recognise the leadership of Kuwait and we support Kuwait," the UN chief added.
Kuwait, under His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah's leadership, has steadily pursued a foreign policy based on regional and international solidarity, friendship and humanitarian action, two UN officials said.
They also noted that Kuwait has set course to become a regional and global driver of high-level human development, thanks to His Highness the Amir's New Kuwait 2035 vision.
Zineb Touimi-Bejelloun, UN Development Program's (UNDP Resident Representative in Kuwait, and her deputy Dima Al-Khatib spoke highly of Kuwait's humanitarian and development contributions worldwide.
Touimi-Bejelloun and Al-Khatib, noted that Kuwait hosted since 2013 three international donors pledging conferences for Syria. The three conferences raised US$ 7.5 billion to help the victims of the Syrian conflict, of which Kuwait pledged US$ 1.5 billion. They noted that Kuwait co-organized the London pledging conference for Syria in February 2016, and the European Union (EU) conference on "supporting the Future of Syria and the region" in 2017.
Kuwait net Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2015, as reported by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), amounted to USD 304 million, an increase of 22 percent over 2014.
Kuwait's role as a humanitarian centre "and generosity of its people, have been acclaimed by the international community," said Touimi-Bejelloun and Al-Khatib.
The UN officials said Kuwait, guided by the "visionary leadership" of His Highness the Amir, has shown an enduring commitment to promote global partnership in pursuit of international peace and sustainable development.
They were referring to His Highness the Amir's New Kuwait 2035 vision, which aimed at launching a national development plan that mobilizes development efforts across seven pillars to transform Kuwait into a financial, cultural and institutional leader in the region.
National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim, in a statement marking the third anniversary of His Highness the Amir's designation by the UN as humanitarian leader, said such a humanitarian approach is at the core of Kuwaiti political doctrine.
"His Highness the Amir since taking helm of the foreign affairs (department) more than 60 years ago ... succeeded in drawing up a foreign policy based on establishing peace, detente, moderation, dialogue and humanitarian intervention in conflict areas regionally and internationally," the speaker said.
Kuwait, led by HH the Amir, has not used abundant financial resources for political advantage; instead it has used a lot of its resources to back development in nations in need and aiding those suffering from armed conflicts and natural catastrophes, the speaker stated.
The International Islamic Charitable Organization (ICCO) is launching a campaign themed "eyalak yehanounank (your children congratulate you)," to express felicitations to His Highness the Amir on his UN honour. The ICCO will launch the campaign online, said the ICCO Chairman and Amiri Diwan Advisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Maatouq. The campaign theme alludes to Sheikh Sabah's fatherly leadership of the Kuwaiti people. HH the Amir masterminded relief efforts for Syrian refugees and the victims of quakes in Pakistan and Turkey, in addition to victims of hunger and desertification in African nations.