'Image of aid should be de-Westernised'

DUBAI — The image of humanitarian assistance needs to be de-Westernised in order for humanitarian efforts to be successful.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 11 Apr 2006, 11:18 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:50 PM

This was stated by a United Nations (UN) official during the opening of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development (Dihad) Conference and Exhibition at the Dubai International Convention Centre (DICC) yesterday.

“To succeed in our big quest, we need to de-Westernise the image of many of the instruments of humanitarian assistance. Too often, it is wrongly identified with the West. But we saw that in the tsunami tragedy, many countries participated and all of the Gulf region participated effectively in humanitarian work,” said Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (UN USG/ERC).

In his keynote speech, Egeland also mentioned that humanitarian organisations continue to experience obstacles in carrying out their missions. Some of these obstacles include border blocks that prevent relief efforts and ambulances from reaching the intended recipients and patients. He added that civilian volunteers are attacked and resources have grown scarce that they cannot even support full daily rations of war-ravaged communities the world over.

“As humanitarians, we are bound by sacred principles. We should not be politically motivated. We have to be with the poor and vulnerable when they need us the most and we have to courageously speak out,” Egeland said.

Gulf countries have recently helped strengthen the foundations of efficient cooperation by means of innovative approaches to humanitarian response. Among good examples figure the significant Saudi contributions as well as direct assistance delivered to many countries through a range of public and private mechanisms.

Likewise, the Dubai humanitarian model has proved essential in strengthening disaster management capacities and in further promoting regional cooperation to ensure effective response to emergencies.

Dihad conference was organised under the auspices of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The event will run until Wednesday, April 12.

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