Khalid Khalifa gives a presentation after the launch of the Arabic edition of The Sphere at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The handbook, a recognised guide on humanitarian and crisis management, was first released in 1994. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: While the UAE is among the leading countries in the GCC that provide aid and additional resources to help victims in crises, there is still much that can be done by the region's humanitarian and non-governmental organisations, a leading expert in humanitarian affairs told Gulf News.

"The UAE government has been a great source of help, not only in the translation of The Sphere Handbook, but also in providing translations for additional humanitarian documents and it is also a leading source for aid not only for victims in the region, but around the world as well," said Khalid Khalifa, Head of Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Integrated Regional Information Network (IRN) for Middle East and Asia Bureau.

Rwanda genocide

The handbook, which is among the most recognised guide on humanitarian services and crisis management, was first released in 1994 as a result of the difficulties faced by aid workers in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. It cannot be applied legally, however, and humanitarian experts have called for applying it ethically.

"Because of the UAE's constant commitment to helping victims by providing aid and resources, one of the methods we use to ensure that our representatives are always up-to-date on the latest information and techniques, we are constantly organising training workshops so that Emiratis in the humanitarian sector can continue building their skills," Sultan Al Shamsi, Executive Director, UAE office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA), said.

"The Arabic edition will also be distributed by western aid organisations and additional launches of it are being planned in July.One of the challenges we faced in translating it was ensuring that the Arabic phrases used were as clear as possible, as there are many different dialects in the region," Khalifa said.