Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, pledged $10 million to the Carter Centre on Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of its partnership with the UAE in fighting disease.
With support from Sheikh Mohamed, also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Carter Centre will continue its work to eradicate neglected tropical illnesses, including Guinea worm disease.
The partnership began when the UAE's Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, invited former US president Jimmy Carter to the UAE for the first time.
In the meeting, Mr Carter discussed an initiative to eradicate a parasitic disease causing devastation across large parts of Africa.
Sheikh Zayed responded with a substantial donation to the Carter Centre, which began a decades-long commitment to disease eradication by Abu Dhabi's ruling family.
On Wednesday, Sheikh Mohamed said: "We are privileged to continue the legacy of ... Sheikh Zayed in our work with the Carter Centre to eradicate Guinea worm disease.
"I thank former president Carter for our decades-long partnership and his unwavering commitment to ending a disease that affects the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
"In the UAE, we have seen first hand the vital link between health and prosperity, and we remain steadfast in our vision of a world where every person deserves to live a healthy, dignified life."
Guinea worm disease eradication is closer than ever. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Carter Centre reported that the number of Guinea worm cases in people was halved to only 27 in 2020, compared with 2019.
The Carter Centre and its partners have reduced the incidence of Guinea worm disease from about 3.5 million cases a year in 1986.
It is on track to be the first human disease eradicated since smallpox, and the first to be eradicated without the use of vaccines or drugs.
"Starting with my good friend Sheikh Zayed, and today continued through the generosity of his son, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the UAE has been a staunch ally in the battle against Guinea worm and other neglected tropical diseases," Mr Carter said.
He founded the centre with his wife Rosalynn in 1982.
"Together, the UAE and the Carter Centre have formed a strong partnership that has transcended generations," Mr Carter said.
The centre is working on eradicating five neglected tropical diseases: Guinea worm, trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis.
Sheikh Mohamed has donated more than $250m since 2010 to efforts to eliminate preventable infectious diseases.
Wednesday's announcement was made before the second annual World NTD Day on January 30, which aims to raise global awareness for the urgent need to end neglected tropical diseases.