RIYADH: The generous donations for humanitarian works from Saudi Arabia helped avoid famine and protected families in Yemen, a top UN official said on Sunday.
Speaking on behalf of UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum (RIHF), Mark Lowcock, UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said: “Because of Saudi generosity, as the Kingdom donated $500 million for humanitarian work in Yemen, the UN agencies were able to avoid famine and protect families’ health in Yemen.”
The forum was organized by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in partnership with the UN and under the auspices of King Salman.
“Now conflicts are taking a longer time and are more lethal,” said Lowcock. “We have 70 million refugees all over the world as a result of conflicts.” He underlined that the world was facing three major challenges: Climate change, progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the rising risk of pandemics.
“As the current president of the G20, Saudi Arabia can showcase the group’s resolve to take action on climate change and make progress on the SDGs,” he said.
“The third challenge we face is the rise in pandemics,” Lowcock added, referring to outbreaks of measles and AEbola in Africa, and the coronavirus outbreak in China.
“The only way to respond to these humanitarian challenges is by resolving conflict, by taking action to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and by delivering on the SDGs.”
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan said: “The Kingdom’s humanitarian actions are based on a clear and stable strategy. It doesn’t consider any political purposes or any religious or ethnic groups, which is the principle that Saudi Arabia has taken in its humanitarian dealings.”
He praised KSRelief saying: “In a short period, the center has achieved international acknowledgment for its humanitarian works.”
He added: “Saudi Arabia is hosting the G20 Summit, and the accompanying economic, political and humanitarian renaissance. It reflects the Kingdom’s keenness to be an active member in the international community to serve the common international interests.”
Saudi Arabia is keen to support the growth of the global economy and the sustainable development of all societies, and is one of the top donors in the world for humanitarian aid.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, KSRelief supervisor general
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, KSRelief supervisor general, said: “The Kingdom recently attracted the world’s attention on the economic front for hosting the 2020 G20 Summit, and is doing so again now from a humanitarian standpoint by hosting this forum.
“In a continuation of the Kingdom’s pioneering role in the humanitarian field, King Salman has approved sponsorship of the 2020 Pledging Conference to support the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan in partnership with the UN.”
Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar said: “Saudi Arabia provides support to crisis-affected groups to ensure that all people in the world have the opportunity to lead decent, dignified lives.”
He added: “The establishment of KSRelief was an affirmation of our country’s commitment to providing ongoing humanitarian relief around the world.”
The Riyadh governor launched the Saudi Aid for Refugees and IDPs website, and the Saudi International Volunteer Portal at the opening ceremony and honored top donors, volunteers, and the humanitarian ambassadors of KSRelief.
Reem Al-Hashimy, UAE minister of state for international cooperation, said: “We highly value the efforts of KSRelief, which has accomplished so much soon after its establishment and has placed itself firmly on the world map of humanitarian action.
“It has helped alleviate human suffering everywhere it has operated. We in the UAE have been honored to work with KSRelief on a host of humanitarian issues.”
On the sidelines of the RIHF, KSRelief signed various agreements in cooperation with UN agencies, international and local partners.