UAE Field Hospital in Egypt
The Emirati- Egyptian Humanitarian Field Hospital in Egypt, which has treated over 48,000 children and the elderly. Photo for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: WAM/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: As the world comes together to celebrate World Humanitarian Day on August 19, the UAE stands out as a shining example of compassion, solidarity, and unwavering commitment to global welfare.

Guided by the legacy of its visionary leaders, particularly the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE has woven a profound system of human values into the fabric of its society. This legacy has not only shaped the nation’s identity but has also extended its influence beyond geographical boundaries.

Deep commitment

Commenting on the occasion, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, emphasised the profound significance of World Humanitarian Day to the people of the UAE. For them, it represents a deep commitment to genuine actions and values rather than mere words.

Sheikh Nahyan bin MUbarak Al Nahyan

“Celebrating this international occasion nationwide reflects our firm commitment to the principles of humanitarian giving, a legacy left behind by the UAE’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Sheikh Zayed was globally recognised for his humanitarian efforts,” he added.

In his address marking the UAE’s observance of World Humanitarian Day, Sheikh Nahyan said: “Our commitment to humanitarianism is evident daily in the UAE. The words and deeds of Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed serve as a testament to this. He consistently emphasises that community and humanitarian giving are foundational to a cohesive society where everyone has an active role and engages positively with the broader world. His humanitarian contributions are a guiding beacon for us all.”

Prominent donor nation

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, emphasised that the UAE, under the leadership of President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, stands as a prominent donor nation, consistently making significant humanitarian contributions. The nation actively engages in enhancing responses to humanitarian crises through innovative initiatives that offer effective solutions, thereby mitigating the adverse impacts of disasters on people.

Sheikh Hamdan underscored that the UAE fulfils its obligations to alleviate human suffering and pursues a strategy that advances global humanitarian principles. This commitment is further fortified by the unlimited support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.

Commenting on the international occasion, observed on August 19 annually, Sheikh Hamdan stressed that the UAE has evolved into a pivotal hub for bolstering international humanitarian efforts. It endeavours to transition these efforts into sustainable programmes and projects aimed at ensuring security and stability for vulnerable populations, fostering the development of those less fortunate.

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Sheikh Zayed's legacy

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Frontline Heroes Office, reinforced the government’s commitment to building on the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founder, and continuing to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to people around the world.

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan

Sheikh Sultan reaffirmed that the UAE government, under the wise leadership of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, will continue to uphold the strong values of Sheikh Zayed that he instilled in us. He also added that Sheikh Zayed is a role model for Emiratis and expats who proudly call the UAE their home, no matter their race, gender, colour, or religion, and he will always remain a prominent figure in the country’s history.

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon also emphasised that the UAE is now one of the top global countries stepping forward swiftly to contribute to humanitarian and relief work around the world, with the nation established as the largest donor of foreign humanitarian aid.

He praised the government’s fast response to providing humanitarian aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people from countries around the world benefiting from much-needed supplies and resources that helped them in their everyday lives.

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon also said the UAE’s assistance to people affected by the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria at the beginning of this year was another example that reflects Sheikh Zayed’s vision. As well as sending search and rescue teams, the UAE sent a significant amount of food and medical supplies as part of the ‘Gallant Knight’ operation.

Human values

Abdulrahman bin Mohamed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), emphasised that the enduring legacy of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has imbued UAE society with a profound system of human values, resonating across all corners of the nation and extending beyond its geographical boundaries.

Abdulrahman bin Mohamed Al Owais

“Rooted in this legacy, the UAE’s humanitarian approach is seamlessly woven into its overarching vision and is exemplified by the noble characteristics of the country’s various initiatives. As a result, the UAE commands universal respect and admiration for its exceptional and distinctive contributions to humanitarian endeavours,” Al Owais added.

The minister highlighted that the UAE stands as a beacon of humanitarian efforts and sustainable development. The nation symbolises a hopeful future, leveraging the profound influence of generosity and human unity to enrich societies globally. This distinctive humanitarian ethos is woven into the very fabric of the UAE’s identity and vision for the future. It stems from our wise leadership’s conviction that the act of giving knows no bounds, all in the pursuit of fostering a more compassionate and kind-hearted world.

Water foundation

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Suqia UAE, said: ”At the UAE Water Foundation (Suqia), under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, we strive to enhance the pillars of sustainability, goodness, and humanitarian work, set forth by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace, and supported by the wise vision of Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

“We consolidate the UAE’s global leadership in humanitarian work, a pillar of the UAE’s soft power, as well as its integral contribution to protecting human dignity everywhere and reducing the suffering of less fortunate communities worldwide,” Al Tayer added.

“As the global water crisis continues and in the Year of Sustainability in the UAE, we intensify our efforts to realise the 6th Goal of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” he further said.

“Suqia UAE provides safe and clean water to communities suffering from water scarcity and pollution, in cooperation with relevant local and global entities and organisations.” It also aims to support innovative and sustainable solutions for water scarcity by overseeing the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award.”

“With total prizes of US$1 million, the Award aims to encourage research centres, individuals, and innovators worldwide to find new and innovative technologies to produce, distribute, store, monitor, purify, and desalinate water using renewable energy to counter water scarcity. Over the three successful cycles of the award, Suqia honoured 31 winners from individuals, leading institutions, and research centres from the UAE and around the world,” Al Tayer noted.

Since its establishment in March 2015 until the end of 2022, Suqia has positively impacted the lives of more than 13.6 million people in 37 countries worldwide by implementing more than 1,000 sustainable water projects around the world. During the current year, Suqia provided relief for those affected by earthquakes in Syria and Turkey in collaboration with the Emirates Red Crescent. It provided 90,000 cartons of drinking water bottles from Mai Dubai.

Suqia also launched its annual Ramadan campaign 2023 for the ninth year in a row to provide water bottles to workers’ houses, needy families, mosques, and Ramadan tents for fasting people across the UAE, in cooperation with Mai Dubai and 14 local associations and charities in the UAE, during Ramadan.

Unwavering commitment

For her part, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of The Big Heart Foundation, said: “World Humanitarian Day goes beyond being an annual reminder of our charitable nature or a tribute to the selfless individuals working to alleviate the suffering of crisis-affected innocents.

Mariam Al Hammadi

"Humanitarian philosophies truly triumph when they transform into a vibrant culture practised every day. Today, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to humanitarian work, regardless of the circumstances or challenges we face. It is a day to honour those who have fearlessly risked their lives to offer unwavering assistance without any hesitation.

“This year’s theme for World Humanitarian Day, #NoMatterWhat, inspires us to join the ranks of brave heroes from the past, present, and future who have and will always work for the betterment of humanity. We are truly grateful for their dedication and sacrifices, brightening the lives of those struggling in difficult times. We also take pride in the unwavering efforts of The Big Heart Foundation’s team, our partners, sponsors, and generous individuals in the UAE and beyond whose big hearts are making the world a better place for several families, women, and children who face unimaginable hardship, all driven by the spirit of “No Matter What,” she added.