ROME: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor-general of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, participated as a key guest speaker at the meeting of the second regular session of the executive board of the World Food Programme in Rome on Monday.
Dr. Al-Rabeeah extended his thanks to the organization and the executive board for inviting him to participate in the meeting.
He congratulated the organization for being awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, stating that this prize is very well-deserved and reflects the world community’s understanding of the vital role being played by the organization in alleviating the suffering of people around the world.
He stated that the partnership between Saudi Arabia and the World Food Programme extends over 45 years. From the outset of the partnership, he said, the cooperation was based on mutual dedication to providing urgent and comprehensive assistance, particularly food aid, to communities and populations facing severe food shortages due to crises such as natural disasters, conflicts, and internal and cross-border migration.
Up to this year, the center has contributed $1.23 billion to organizations for food assistance programs in 24 countries. In Yemen, 27 programs have been implemented with the organization at a cost of $1.16 billion.
The secretary-general said that the partnership between the center and the World Food Programme began in the wake of the 1973 economic crisis. The Kingdom provided $50 million to the organization between 1975 and 1976 to support food aid projects for those affected by the crisis.
This donation played a major role in establishing the organization as a distinguished international humanitarian actor.
When the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, the Kingdom announced the provision of an historic and generous grant of $500 million to the World Food Programme to provide urgent assistance for millions of people affected by high food prices.
Dr. Al-Rabeeah said: “In 2014, the Kingdom contributed more than $200 million to provide food for displaced families in Iraq, as well as refugees from Syria, South Sudan and Somalia. The Kingdom continued its role in supporting the organization through providing, between 2005 and 2021, an estimated $1.9 billion to support 124 projects in the food and food security sectors.
“In addition, the Kingdom’s annual ‘Gift of Dates’ project has provided 4,500 tons of Saudi-grown dates to be distributed through the organization to provide nutritional assistance and support for communities in need in a number of countries.”