We live in an age where there are some 80 million refugees worldwide — the largest number ever recorded — a figure that is increasing by the week from social and political upheaval, natural disasters and climate change.
In real terms, imagine every person living in Germany today being a refugee.
The reality too is that as nations face pressure to reprioritise spending and stimulate their respective economics in the wake of the commercial hibernations wrought by the global coronavirus pandemic, the plight of refugees will be pushed further from centre stage at a time when the need for humanitarian assistance is greater than ever.
And the UAE is truly making a difference in assisting the desolate and desperate, destitute and deserving the world over.
New figures released in a report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) show that in the period between 2010 and 2021, the UAE spent a staggering Dh206 billion ($56 billion) on foreign aid, with each dirham spent helping to improve the lives of millions of refugees when they needed help most.
The unprecedented sum was spent on development, humanitarian and charitable aid programmes the world over — and when those in need needed it most.
Almost 88 per cent of the funds were spent on development aid, with spending on direct humanitarian aid making up almost 10 per cent. Charitable aid accounted for 2.4 per cent respectively. The ratio of spending on development aid also reflects the reality that by helping regions to be sustainable through long-term growth on solid footings, the conditions that alleviate humanitarian crises are nurtured.
The ministry figures show that almost half of the UAE funding was spent on the African continent over the past 11 years, with Asian nations receiving 40 per cent. Multilateral programmes and organisations received almost 5 per cent of the total.
It’s significant to note too that the UAE’s generosity and provision of more than $30 billon has helped the United Nations meet its sustainable development plan between 2016 and 2020.
As well as providing humanitarian and development assistance to many millions in need, UAE funding has also helped make the planet greener. Some $537 million has been spent on renewable energy projects since 2010, making sure that the energy that powers sustainable humanitarian development comes from renewable sources.
The founding fathers of this nation were determined to ensure it would be giving, magnanimous and generous for those who needed help most. And yes, given these latest figures, those principles have been served well.