Saudi Arabia exceeds UN targets for humanitarian work overseas

The total assistance provided to Yemen during the past three years amounted to more than $1.543 billion. (AP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia exceeds UN targets for humanitarian work overseas

  • Saudi Arabia has played a leading role in providing humanitarian aid and relief work by assisting many needy countries to alleviate human suffering and provide vulnerable populations with a decent life: Al-Rabeeah
  • Al-Rabeeah emphasized the Kingdom’s efforts to host refugees as their numbers reached 561,911 Yemenis, 262,573 Syrians and 249,669 from Myanmar

JEDDAH: The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) announced details of the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts, which have exceeded targets set by the UN.

Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSRelief, said Saudi Arabia’s gross official development assistance (ODA) amounted to $65.9 billion between 1994 and 2014, representing 1.9 percent of the Kingdom’s Gross National Income (GNI) — a percentage that is higher than the United Nations’ target of 0.7 percent of GNI dedicated to ODA.

He added during a meeting with French journalists in Paris: “Saudi Arabia has played a leading role in providing humanitarian aid and relief work by assisting many needy countries to alleviate human suffering and provide vulnerable populations with a decent life.” 

He stressed the Saudi leadership’s keenness to promote humanitarian work, highlighting that King Salman had inaugurated KSRelief on May 13, 2015, to serve as an international body for providing humanitarian assistance and to unite the Kingdom’s foreign-relief efforts under one organization.

“The total assistance provided to Yemen during the past three years amounted to more than $1.543 billion.”

Houthi militias continue to disrupt humanitarian efforts, target residential neighborhoods and humanitarian staff, use children as soldiers, and use anti-craft weapons in civilian areas, he said.

“The Houthi militias have targeted Saudi cities with 133 ballistic missiles and thousands of military projectiles that have killed 107 innocent civilians and injured 870 others in addition to causing damage to 39 schools, 18 mosques, and five hospitals,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah emphasized the Kingdom’s efforts to host refugees as their numbers reached 561,911 Yemenis, 262,573 Syrians and 249,669 from Myanmar. Refugees make up 5.26 percent of the Kingdom’s residents.

Al-Rabeeah said the Kingdom had contributed to humanitarian education projects in 32 countries around the world, highlighting that 132 projects worth more than $5 billion were being implemented, benefiting two million people and 393,000 students.

Earlier, Al-Rabeeah met with members of the Arab Group at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

During the meeting at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, he said the programs involved building educational facilities, teaching students, granting scholarships, providing teaching tools and supplies, and training teachers. The total cost of the programs was $5.212 billion. The Center also provided additional educational projects in nine countries worth $93 million.

He also explained that the center coordinates the transport of aid with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and with the coalition forces in Yemen through the Office of the Military Coordination, to ensure the rapid licensing of commercial and humanitarian vessels. 

“From the beginning of the Yemeni crisis to this day, 22,000 licenses have been issued, whether for vessels, land convoys or aircraft,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah also revealed that a project to provide a residential complex with health centers and schools for Yemeni refugees in Djibouti will be launched soon.

He added that KSRelief was also closely monitoring the suffering of Rohingya refugees in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh. 

He pointed out that the center also recently agreed to undertake a project to provide education for the children of Rohingya refugees in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The members of the UNESCO Arab Group praised the efforts of the Kingdom, represented by the work of the center, in providing humanitarian relief and aid to needy people in several countries.


Saudi Arabia highlights the importance of the implementation of the UN Vision 2030

Updated 38 min 43 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia highlights the importance of the implementation of the UN Vision 2030

  • Saudi Arabia affirms the importance of preserving natural resources and putting great attention to environmental issues
  • Saudi Arabia is keen to preserve and protect them and ensure that they are not affected by the urban and industrial renaissance in the Kingdom

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s permanent delegation to the United Nations said that the Kingdom puts great importance to the implementation of the UN Vision 2030’s goals encompassing the economic, social and environmental fronts.

This was stated in the speech delivered by the First Secretary Bandar Al-Nahdi during the general debate on Agenda 21, a UN action plan on sustainable development, at the 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Al-Nahdi said that Saudi Arabia affirms the importance of preserving natural resources and putting great attention to environmental issues.

It is keen to preserve and protect them and ensure that they are not affected by the urban and industrial renaissance in the Kingdom, he said in his speech.

“Saudi Arabia believes that the preservation and development of the environment lie in finding new modern technologies, reducing pollution, fighting desertification and optimizing the use of water resources (both treated and renewable water),” Al-Nahdi said. “The plan also includes a complete protection of shores, reserves and islands, in a way that everyone would have access to them.”

He pointed out that King Salman has issued a royal order to establish the Royal Protected Areas Council under the chairmanship of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman. The council will have authority over six reserves in the Kingdom, and would be made accessible to citizens and residents without walls or barriers.

Al-Nahdi said that the Kingdom also supports international efforts to combat desertification.

He added that the Kingdom has launched two initiatives for the sustainable development of forests and rangeland, and organized investments in these areas, to fight desertification through planting 4 million trees and providing 6 million plantlets. It also rehabilitated 60,000 hectares of agricultural land and pastures. Meanwhile, over the next four years more than 100 sites and 24 national parks will be developed.

Al-Nahdi also referred to the report of the UN Secretary-General – “Oil slick on the Lebanese shores” – and said that Saudi Arabia shared the concern of the UN as Israel continued to ignore all international resolutions urging it to take responsibility for the environmental catastrophe caused when its military forces targeted oil storage tanks in the Lebanese shores.

“This has engendered a devastating environmental impact. It is not surprising to see this coming from a state that always disregards all international laws, decisions and treaties, and continues to occupy the land of Palestine and the Arab Golan,” he said.

Al-Nahdi stressed that the Kingdom was always keen on cooperating with international organizations and countries that believed in collective work to achieve the best.

He said that Saudi Arabia would also support efforts to protect and preserve the environment, including risk-reduction measures for natural disasters that threaten our world.