The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, paid tribute to His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, for his leading support to humanitarian causes around the world.
The Secretary-General presented His Highness with a Certificate of Appreciation recognizing the Amir’s role as a leader and supporter of the United Nations humanitarian work.
The Certificate was handed by the Secretary-General to His Highness the Amir at a ceremony at the UN Headquarters in New York, attended by senior Kuwaiti officials and representatives of diplomatic missions.
“We thank the Amir and the people of Kuwait for their outstanding generosity towards people in need,” said the Secretary-General.
“Kuwait has increased its support for multilateral humanitarian action exponentially since the start of the crisis in Syria. In the past two years, Kuwait has donated hundreds of millions of dollars for humanitarian operations – not only in the Middle East, but in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan. Kuwait’s leadership and funding has saved lives, and has galvanized others to participate in coordinated humanitarian action.”
His Highness the Amir announced that the State of Kuwait was doubling their annual voluntary contribution to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), from US$500,000 to 1 million US dollars, noting that, “acts of benevolence and philanthropy are inherent values in the hearts of the Kuwaiti people.”
Kuwait has played a leading role in supporting the UN’s humanitarian work in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2013 and 2014 Kuwait hosted international pledging conferences for Syria, providing an important platform to mobilize resources for one of the worst protracted crises in the world. Kuwait has provided regular support to several African countries through the Kuwaiti Fund for Development and was recently the venue of the Arab African Summit during which His Highness the Amir pledged $1 billion for development projects across the continent.
Speaking on the occasion the UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said that the ceremony honoring His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the government and people was “very moving.”
At a luncheon hosted on the sidelines of the honoring ceremony, the UN Coordinator for Emergency Relief said, “His Highness the Amir spoke extensively about the situations across the world, where we have the international community engaging and seeking to tackle those difficult issues.” She added, “His Highness also announced an additional contribution to the central emergency response fund. It is a fund we use to kick-start contributions and efforts in the immediate aftermath a crisis. All invitees recognized the seriousness and importance of the occasion.”
Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressed his delight on the honor conferred on His Highness the Amir and said, humanitarian initiatives are part of “years of great efforts by His Highness the Amir”, which have resulted in “unlimited support for humanitarian action at various levels and in various parts of the globe.” Therefore, the UN decision to name His Highness the Amir a “Humanitarian Leader” is “well-deserved and befitting the wisdom of His Highness the Amir,” he continued.
HH the Amir “strives to do whatever would alleviate the severe humanitarian conditions” that have befallen the region and the world, in a manner that mirrors Kuwait’s “noble principles and firm conviction that humanitarian action is an essential part of the collective responsibility of the international community.”
The ambassador further lauded the role played by the generous people of Kuwait, and their “relentless pursuit (toward) mobilizing international efforts” to assist those who have been affected by difficult circumstances. He described the UN designation as “a certificate of appreciation for the philanthropic role” played by the people of Kuwait, “whether through governmental institutions or private charities.”
The award is an “explicit recognition of the positive role and the policies pursued by the State of Kuwait, which contributed to the strengthening of (the nation) and its reputation in the international community,” he concluded.
France has also warmly welcomed the attribution of a distinguished United Nations honor to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and to the State of Kuwait for their work done in the area of humanitarian affairs and development.
His Highness the Amir is named a “Global Humanitarian Leader” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and in parallel Kuwait is designated as a “Global Humanitarian Centre” in recognition of the work done worldwide by the Kuwaiti nation and leadership, and of late the distinguished efforts of His Highness the Amir in convening international conferences to help the plight of war-weary Syrians and the millions of refugees created by that conflict.
A senior French official here also underlined the Kuwaiti role in supporting not only humanitarian and developmental goals worldwide, but also pointed to Kuwait’s actions as a champion of culture in France and elsewhere. “I would like to take the opportunity, offered by the awarding of this justified honor, to thank the Amir of Kuwait and the people of Kuwait for their partnership with France in international humanitarian and cultural actions,” French Foreign Ministry Spokesman and Director of Communications Romain Nadal said.
The French official particularly drew attention to the important role played by Kuwait when it hosted two major conferences for humanitarian aid for Syria and raised pledges of US$2.5 billion from participants. This came on top of a long history of humanitarian and developmental work sponsored by Kuwait through regular operations in developing and poor countries, both Arab and non-Arab.
Specifically speaking of the honorific title conferred on His Highness Sheikh Sabah, the French official highlighted his government’s satisfaction that His Highness the Amir had been recognized for his work and Kuwait had been rewarded for its support for humanitarian actions.
“We welcome the announcement by the UN Secretary-General to award this honor to the Amir of Kuwait and to the Kuwaiti nation,” Nadal said.
“This award illustrates the commitment of the Amir of Kuwait in favor of international humanitarian action, in particular for a certain number of countries in crisis, like Syria. It is an extremely important action, appreciated not only in the United Nations but by the entire international community,” the French official added.
“France is delighted by this award and especially by the action carried out by Kuwait which France supports and with which it has a very important partnership and political dialogue,” Nadal also said.
The spokesman expressed satisfaction at being given a chance to send a message of gratitude to the State of Kuwait and His Highness the Amir, reflecting the long-standing cooperation between the two nations in a number of areas.
“The conferring of this award also permits France to thank the Amir of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti nation for the partnership we have with this country, notably in the framework of the Arab World Institute (IMA), and The Louvre Museum, in order to promote Arab and Islamic civilization, to help make it better known and to undertake the restoration of a certain number of works that are under threat or have needed to be refurbished.”
His Highness the Amir has been a generous donor to both IMA and The Louvre, and helped finance the renovation of the IMA museum, as well as participating in the creation of an 8th Department in the world-famous Louvre Museum, dedicated exclusively to Islamic art. In a related note, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Jordan His Excellency Hamad Al-Duaij said that on the occasion of United Nations’ honoring of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as a ‘Humanitarian Leader’, and the State of Kuwait a ‘Humanitarian Center’, Kuwait is continuing its efforts to help the thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan.
He said that the model Kuwaiti village of 2,000 mobile homes provided to Syrian refugees in Jordan constitute a symbol of Kuwaiti generosity to the many Syrians who sought shelter abroad ever since the outbreak of the crisis in their nation.
“In addition to the mobile homes, the project consists of two schools, each occupying an area of 2,600sqm, a mosque and a medical center,” said the ambassador. The diplomat added that the initiative aims to serve the needs of the approximately 150,000 refugees who were previously living under makeshift tents.
The envoy noted that the initiative in Jordan is launched under the watchful eye of Kuwaiti charity International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) president and the UN chief’s humanitarian envoy Abdullah Al-Maatouq. This initiative supplements two international conferences, hosted by Kuwait, which raised pledges worth around US$4.6 billion for displaced Syrians, of which Kuwait has already granted US$800 million.