Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition – DIHAD, successfully concluded today after 3 days of highly enriching and productive discussions on the most urgent issues facing refugees and migrants in the region and the world. The top humanitarian gathering in Dubai under the theme ‘People on the Move’, focused on ways to address the core issue of ‘migration’, as more and more countries implement new immigration policies, reinforce national borders and plan border wall constructions. In conclusion of the conference, the organizers announced the dates of the upcoming edition that will take place from 10-12 March 2020 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre
Commenting on the occasion, H.E. Ambassador Peter Schatzer, International Institute for Humanitarian Law, San Remo, and Former Chief of Staff at the International Organization for Migration, IOM, said, “This year’s DIHAD theme is appropriate and timely, not only because of so many international and national debates taking place about the many aspects of migration, but also because so much of that debate is ill-informed.
In a world on the move there are regional differences and varieties and the Middle East is one of the most dynamic regions in this regard. DIHAD 2019 was aimed at finding answers to some key questions such as Who among the hundreds of millions of migrants requires attention? What are the groups and that need help?”
He added, “My presentation was focused on global and regional demographic data, using a multitude of sources. It is intended to inform, but also to remind us that numbers are about people, their aspirations, expectations, fears and hopes.”
From his side, Dr. Randolph Kent, Director of The Futures Project, Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, London, said, “People on the Move”, will continue to be an inherent feature – a continuum of the mid-21st Century. As global complexity increases, the nation state – far from timeless – will be mutating into new and novel socio-political structures. For all the positive benefits that could derive from such mutations, there are the negative consequences too. As recent estimates suggest that by 2050, approximately 700 million people could face displacement owing to climate change, land degradation and other factors, I believe the time is right to plan for the future. In my presentation, I addressed some key questions such as “What could be the drivers of displacement in another generation, and what might their consequences be? What should we do to prepare for such an unprecedented though uncertain future, and why should we be thinking about that future now?”
On her part Suad Jarbawi, Middle East Regional Director, Mercy Corps, Amman said, “It is indeed very important for us to be discussing ‘People on the Move’ because the number of people moving away from their homes right now is unprecedented. So, it is immensely vital that a group of experts to come together and dig deeper into the topics about why migration is on the rise, how can we as a humanitarian and development community assist and what is the burden as well as the opportunity that we all share together in improving the lives of those that are choosing to move.”
She added, “My session was specifically focused on the interlinkage between the humanitarian response and the sustainable developmental goals, (SDG’s) and how important it is for us to move away from just simply focusing on providing immediate basic needs and rather to dig deeper into the root causes. In order to overcome this crisis, Mercy Corps firmly believes that the world community has to thoroughly understand the choices that people are making and the root causes of the pains that people are suffering”.
She further added, “I think that our landscape is becoming more and more complicated and complex with the number of crises that we are witnessing and because of an array of reasons including why these humanitarian crises are developing around the world. In order to resolve this crisis, we have to become more specialized but more importantly we as humanitarian community have to put them on centerstage, understand what their needs are, how to build together with them and how to help them improve their current situation. Although the challenges ahead of us are huge, I believe we still have the opportunity to overcome them.”
On the third and final day, humanitarian leaders and experts discussed a number of topics impacting refugees and patients such as ‘People on the Move; How the Media Shape the Public Debate’, ‘People on the move; planning from the future’ and Migrants and Refugees; The Need for New Approaches in the Provision of Assistance’. In addition, the conference featured a number of special presentations such as ‘People on the move and real food’, People on the move, a focus on the Middle East, Refugees and Migrants, a vital issue to be tackled by the diplomatic community, The UAE Red Crescent Authority; a sizeable source of assistance to refugees and Staying in touch, through innovation and solutions.
According to a recent report by the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the world is indeed on the move and it is estimated that out of the 258 million international migrants in the world, who are living outside their country of birth, nearly 11 percent are youngsters below 24 years of age. While there are many factors driving people to migrate in great numbers, experts highlighted that conflict, persecution, environmental crisis, rising inequality and lack of security and opportunity are key to displacement and migration. As the current forced displacement numbers are creating a global crisis, experts stressed that there is a need to ease pressure on host countries, empower refugees and improve conditions in countries of origin for the safety and dignity of refugees.
It is worth mentioning that the Executive Chairman of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) and the scientific board (DISAB), Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, was recently unanimously named as the goodwill ambassador by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) making him the first non-member personality to be given this title.
He was awarded the title of Goodwill Ambassador for his continuous humanitarian efforts and his hard work in the field of charity and relief, as he is also deeply keen to serve the community and empower all human beings regardless of their color, gender and religion.
Continuing on the 3rd day, the Innovation Workshop, hosted a series of discussions on the sidelines of DIHAD conference, featuring a key presentation by Dubai Foundation for Women and Children under the title ‘Launch of DFWAC’s Annual Report 2018’, while another session was held by UNGM namely ‘First Steps in Doing Business with the United Nations – Registration and finding Information’. Moreover, experts attending the workshop also discussed “Humanitarian Assistance Strategies for Climate Change Induced Crisis’.
Among the top exhibitors who showcased their latest projects in disaster response was Australia’s leading Trusted Charity, Muslim Aid Australia, (MAA) International which announced their unique Community SMAART Centre in the Republic of Vanuatu. The Centre, it was highlighted will help hundreds of disadvantage people and focus on community development, food aid programs, permaculture demonstrations, and skills training for the needy.
Over the last 3 days, DIHAD 2019 successfully attracted over 5300 visitors and participants from more than 84 countries. In addition, the exhibition witnessed the presence of over 640 exhibitors comprising leading NGO’s, government bodies, charities, aid workers and foundations who showcased key technologies and the latest trends in supporting refugees and migrant populations around the world.
Additionally, the exhibition successfully witnessed the completion of a first of its kind ‘DIHAD Buyers Program’, which offered one-on-one meetings, business and key networking opportunities for more than 60 Buyers attending the program.
DIHAD is organized annually by INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions – a member of INDEX Holding with the support of United Nations, Emirates Red Crescent, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian & Charity Est., UNHCR, UNOCHA, OIC, Dubai Cares and International Humanitarian City. The event is sponsored by UAE Water Aid – Suqia, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), King Abdullah Humanitarian Foundation and Life Relief and Development.