KSrelief carries out 248 humanitarian projects in 38 countries, Al-Rabeeah tells officials in Rome

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah
Updated 21 November 2017
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KSrelief carries out 248 humanitarian projects in 38 countries, Al-Rabeeah tells officials in Rome

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), on Sunday told senior officials in Rome that his center has implemented 248 humanitarian projects in 38 countries, foremost of which is Yemen.

Al-Rabeeah, who is also an adviser to the Royal Court, made the statement during his discussions with the secretary-general of the Defense and National Armaments Directorate, Italian Ministry of Defense, Lt. Gen. Carlo Magrassi.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed means of cooperation between the Kingdom and Italy in relief and humanitarian endeavors.

During the past three days, Al-Rabeeah and his team met a number of officials in Rome to apprise them of the humanitarian services carried out by his center.

He also met with David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program (WFP) in the presence of Chargé d’Affaires of the Saudi Embassy in Rome Faisal Al-Qahtani, also permanent Saudi representative to the FAO.

During a high-level meeting on “Partnering for a Sustainable Peace in Yemen,” which was held on Friday in Rome, Al-Rabeeah, said that Yemen’s air and sea ports under the control of the legitimate Yemen government were now open, and that in order to maximize the delivery of humanitarian supplies, Saudi Arabia is ready to offer its Jazan sea port and land ports of entry for use by humanitarian convoys.

He also condemned Houthi militia aggressions against UN and international humanitarian organizations and their workers. These violations of international law include the confiscation of aid and acts of violence against people and property.

Al-Rabeeah added that between 2015 and 2017, more than 16 acts of Houthi militia aggression were documented against humanitarian workers, including killing, kidnapping, closing humanitarian organization offices and hindering the movement of humanitarian supplies to targeted beneficiaries.

Houthi militias have stopped and/or confiscated 65 ships, 124 humanitarian convoys, and 628 trucks – clear violations of international humanitarian law and all UN resolutions.

He also pointed out that despite all the challenges, blockades and threats against KSrelief’s operations and staff in Yemen, the center continues to provide aid to the Yemeni people in all regions while trying its best to lessen the humanitarian crisis. He provided more details on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to support Yemen between 2015 and 2017 in which the Kingdom has donated $8.27 billion to support humanitarian needs, national development, and the Central Bank of Yemen.

He further stressed that all UN and human rights resolutions prohibit the use of children in armed conflict, and that, unfortunately, the Houthi coup has used more than 20,000 children for such purposes, according to human rights reports.

KSrelief has begun an innovative program to rehabilitate child soldiers, beginning with 2,000 children in a project that includes psychological, educational, and social support services for the children and their families.

KSrelief has also led the fight against the cholera epidemic in Yemen by supporting the Yemeni Ministry of Health, UNICEF and WHO, with more than $76 million. These efforts have resulted in a decline of the epidemic, achieving a recovery rate of 99.5 percent of identified cases.

Dr. Al-Rabeeah called upon all UN and international organizations working in Yemen to establish field offices in several regions of Yemen and not to depend upon offices in a single city to carry out their humanitarian programs. This diversification will support both neutrality and impartiality.


Misk Global Forum hears that it’s all about skills

Updated 8 min 47 sec ago
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Misk Global Forum hears that it’s all about skills

  • News has changed drastically, with audiences more digitally connected now getting their news through online platforms such as Twitter
  • The third annual Misk Global Forum, with the theme Skills for Our Tomorrow, is taking place place at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center on Wednesday and Thursday

RIYADH: As the moderator of the first session, “It’s All About Skills,” at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday, Arab News’ editor in chief Faisal J Abbas began by holding up the morning’s newspaper: “Two years ago people used to read the news like this,” he said.

But as he pointed out, the news has changed drastically, with audiences more digitally connected now getting their news through online platforms such as Twitter.

With media tweeting out his comments, Abbas began introducing his guests: Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, Saudi Minister of Labor and Social Development; Shaima Hamidaddin, executive manager of the Misk Global Forum; Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN secretary general’s envoy on youth from Sri Lanka; and Sue Siegel, chief innovation officer for General Electric.

Abbas asked Al-Rajhi how the government was tackling the challenge of finding jobs for youth. “With Vision 2030 programs (that) are happening today, we have a lot of initiatives and there is potential,” the minister said. “We all need to work together and collaborate with the education system, employers that create the jobs and the ministry to give a clear direction of where we are going today.”

Asked whether job creation is considered a worldwide issue, the UN envoy on youth confirmed it’s not just a regional concern. “It is not a national or regional issue but a global one: Our world is younger than it has ever been before. I’d like to look at this as an opportunity to achieve sustainability.”

Wickramanayake said out that by 2030, South Asia and Africa will supply 60 percent of the world’s workforce. “We have a large majority of young people that are working but still live in poverty,” she said, and it’s important to invest in them. “If we are serious then this is the time to make those investments: to be productive citizens and employees and employers.”

One of the groups making those sorts of investments in Saudi Arabia is the Misk Foundation, the forum’s organizer, which was founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2011. Hamidaddin pointed out that the foundation plays a complementary role, bridging gaps and working with partners to help equip young people with skills.  

Abbas asked the question that’s on everyone’s minds these days: Are machines going to take over our jobs? Siegel said everybody looks at artificial intelligence and thinks it means machines will take over our jobs, but it will actually enable productivity and create new jobs by taking over the more mundane ones. She pointed out that everyone thought computers would take our jobs, but they just augmented what we do.

When asked about the Arab world’s perception that international companies don’t care about the region, Seigel said that just isn’t so. “It’s inaccurate,” she said. “We have been in the Kingdom for over 80 years. Seventy percent of our business is out of the US. We have 4,000 employees here. The success of the country is the success of our company. We are pleased with the progress we have made here. “

When it comes to preparing Saudi youth for the jobs of the future, Al-Rajhi said a governmental committee formed by five ministers is looking at how well education is preparing them for it.

Speaking up from the audience, Saudi Education Minister Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Issa took the mic: “It’s the easiest thing to criticize the education system, but we can see that all the people here are from education,” he said. “In general, we are reviewing all the education aspects in terms of curriculum or skills that (they) should require. We are also reviewing the specification of the needs of the labor market and education system. “

Al- Rajhi said the skills youth need for the future are definitely changing, stressing the need for problem solving, conversational skills and teamwork.

Abbas asked panelists to describe in one word what skills were needed for the future.

“Agility,” Hamidaddin said.

“The ability to learn,” said Siegel.

Wickramanayake said it’s a holistic approach and that we need to talk about skills development as a package for human beings.

And Al-Rajhi went with innovation. “Try to be always innovative or at least adaptable to innovation - in my opinion this is key to success,” he concluded.

Taking it back to his opening remarks, Abbas wrapped up the session by telling the audience to read about it on arabnews.com, prompting laughter from the audience.

The third annual Misk Global Forum, with the theme Skills for Our Tomorrow, is taking place place at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center on Wednesday and Thursday.