Dubai conference to discuss pressing humanitarian issues facing the world

More than 16,000 participants from 154 countries set to attend the aid and development event

Humanitarian aid falls towards the Gaza Strip after being dropped from an aircraft. The conference aims to discuss how to get aid to those who need it the most. Reuters
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A major conference in Dubai is set to examine the pressing humanitarian issues facing the world.

The Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development (Dihad) meeting that starts on Tuesday brings together leaders from NGOs, government bodies and the private sector to discuss issues such as humanitarian diplomacy, climate change, global health challenges and the enhanced role of women and youths.

The three-day event is expected to draw more than 16,000 participants from 154 countries, comprising more than 900 NGOs, charities, aid workers and relief suppliers.

Now in its 20th year, Dihad will also feature 131 world humanitarian speakers. It will have 24 main sessions covering vital discussions and 144 workshops.

The conference comes at a moment when conflicts from Gaza to Ukraine are underlining the heavy toll experienced by civilians and the difficulty in getting aid to those most in need.

In Gaza, for example, getting aid in has proven so hard that countries have resorted to dropping vital supplies by plane.

Abdulsalam Al Madani, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean's roving ambassador for the GCC, told state news agency Wam that the conference aims to “enhance co-operation and empathy on humanitarian issues by strengthening the role of humanitarian diplomacy”.

This is a key way to achieving peace, “with a focus on building an international future that reflects our aspirations and promotes the values of justice and unity at the national and international levels”, said Mr Al Madani, who is also chairman of the Dihad Sustainable Humanitarian Organisation and chairman of Dihad International Scientific Advisory Board.

“The UAE has always been a pioneer in supporting those in need and alleviating their suffering wherever they are.”

The conference includes speakers from the front lines of humanitarian aid, with Gilles Michaud, UN undersecretary general for safety and security, set to deliver the keynote address on Tuesday, with a focus on safe and secure aid deliveries in the context of increasing risks.

The issue of humanitarian diplomacy, international humanitarian law and human rights are themes expected to feature prominently, particularly in light of the rising civilian toll in conflicts around the world.

Attendees are also expected to discuss how aid can be provided effectively in war zones, how to ensure access to aid for those who need it the most and how best to ensure the security of aid providers.

Dihad will host several pavilions put up by countries, local and international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other relevant institutions and bodies as they seek to highlight key issues.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the conference and exhibition runs at the World Trade Centre from Tuesday until Thursday.

Updated: April 23, 2024, 3:00 AM