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Kuwait celebrates 3rd anniversary of His Highness Amir's UN Humanitarian honoring
September 9, 2017, 8:42 am

Kuwait celebrates Saturday the third anniversary of the UN honoring of Kuwait as a global Humanitarian Center and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as being a Humanitarian Leader in recognition of efforts in supporting charitable work for all needy people around the globe.

Through its humanitarian diplomacy, the State of Kuwait was able to draw the attention of the international community and the relevant international organizations to the humanitarian efforts of the country and His Highness the Amir's endeavors in this regard.

On September 9, 2014, the United Nations organized a celebration during which it granted the State of Kuwait the title of Humanitarian Center and HIs Highness the Amir a Humanitarian Leader.

The former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon praised the efforts of His Highness the Amir, who contributed to enabling the international organization 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 the State of Kuwait prompted the international community to collect more assistance, thanks to the efforts of His Highness the Amir, a matter that helped the United Nations to carry out its humanitarian mission and that the continued support of His Highness the Amir enabled the UN to do so.

"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 today 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 in remarks at a ceremony recognizing the humanitarian leadership of the Amir at the UN headquarters in New York.

His Highness Sheikh Sabah announced that Kuwait would double its annual contribution to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CEFR) to USD one million. "I am pleased to announce before you of doubling our fixed annual voluntary contribution to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to USD one million."

His Highness Sheikh Sabah, highly appreciating the honoring as a "special occasion", said Kuwait, since its independence and gaining the UN membership, has followed a steady approach in its foreign policy, based essentially on humanitarian assistance to all needy countries regardless of their geographic location, religious beliefs or ethnic origins.

This assistance is in pursuance of Kuwait's belief and conviction of the importance of international partnership, as well as the unification and activation of international efforts, aimed at the maintenance and preservation of the foundations of life that is the human spirit.

His Highness noted that Kuwait has always been developing and modernizing the methods of providing assistance.
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 organizations and specialized 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 went on to mention.

This has provided the humanitarian work of Kuwait with wider horizons and more comprehensive dimensions to promote direct cooperation in the various crises, with those international bodies, he said.
His Highness the Amir underlined that the acts of benevolence and philanthropy are "inherent values in the hearts of the Kuwaiti people, as inherited generation after generation from their forefathers".

He added that the Kuwaiti people kept offering aid for the needy people even when they faced hardships in the past, in reference to the 1990-91 Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

His Highness the Amir pointed out that 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 in support of their efforts to achieve their development.

The gross amount of loans provided by the fund during more than half a century reached USD 17.6 billion benefitting 103 countries, representing 1.2 percent of Kuwait's gross national income (GNI), exceeding the 0.7 percent of GNI the UN has determined in 1970 as an indicator of the official development assistance to be provided by developed countries.

Kuwait, noted the Kuwaiti leader, hosted three donors' conferences for the Syrian people in 2013 and 2014 where USD 3.6 billion was pledged, of which Kuwait contributed an amount of USD 800 million.

His Highness the Amir highlighted the UN's important role to confronting challenges facing social peace and political security around the world.

"I also would like to renew that the commitment of Kuwait, which has always been a firm and genuine supporter and an effective member of the United Nations, is still of the same conviction and shall remain so, out of its belief in the noble message of the United Nations in the preservation of international peace and security, the dissemination of the principals of justice and equality and ensuring a life of dignity and welfare to the peoples of the world."

His Highness the Amir, through many events, has made Kuwait a pioneer country in humanitarian philanthropy and international humanitarian initiatives, in addition to making Kuwait a leading center for hosting 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 which was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2016.

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."

In line with this humanitarian vision, the State of Kuwait has worked to alleviate the suffering of people in major crises by providing assistance to more than one country, chiefly Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen, as well as raising the volume of donations in countries affected by natural disasters.

In the past years, the country has witnessed many activities supporting humanitarian action. Since 2014, the Kuwait International Humanitarian Action Forum has been organized with the participation of governmental, civil and international bodies, local and international experts and volunteers to achieve common goals to serve humanitarian work and complement Kuwait's humanitarian march as a center for humanitarian action.

The State of Kuwait, through the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, provided relief assistance to flood and flood affected areas in Sudan in 2016. In Tanzania, 35 water wells have been opened since late 2016 until the end of July 2017 as part of a "Well For Every School" initiative covering various African nations, besides another initiative dubbed "A Lab For Every School" aimed at supporting the education sector.

Kuwaiti relief efforts have been extended to include non-Arab countries. In 2007, the State of Kuwait donated USD 10 million to Bangladesh to help the victims of a local cyclone, which left thousands dead and wounded.

After Japan suffered a severe earthquake and a subsequent tsunami in March 2011, which left a lot of material damage, His Highness the Amir made a donation from Kuwait of five million barrels of crude oil equivalent to about USD 500 million.

Kuwait has also donated USD 250,000 to help Turkey deal with the consequences as a result of an earthquake in 2012 through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to support the humanitarian efforts of the Fund for earthquake victims.

The State of Kuwait also donated USD 10 million in 2014 to help the Philippine people affected by a hurricane, which has caused extensive destruction in the country.

In August 2014, Kuwait donated USD five million to address the global Ebola crisis and to enable the World Health Organization to deal with the epidemic.

The humanitarian efforts of the State of Kuwait continued in 2017, especially in the crisis-stricken Arab states. Initiatives have been varied to include relief convoys and large campaigns, most notably the campaigns in Al-Quds.

The United Nations honoring of the State of Kuwait and His Highness the Amir have enjoyed unprecedented international, regional and local accolades by senior leaders and officials of international organizations and personalities who have paid tribute to Kuwait's outstanding and unprecedented efforts in international humanitarian action.

In this context, 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 recognize the leadership of Kuwait and we support Kuwait," the UN chief added.

Source: KUNA

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