Aid data bank will en­sure right ben­e­fi­cia­ries: Ex­pert

Khaleej Times - - NATION - Sh­er­ouk Zakaria sh­er­ouk@khalee­j­

DUBAI — The re­cently launched Hu­man­i­tar­ian Lo­gis­tics Data Bank will avoid the du­pli­ca­tion of aid re­sources and help re­lief agen­cies save money, an ex­pert has said.

Princess Haya bint Al Hus­sein, wife of His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and chair­per­son of the In­ter­na­tional Hu­man­i­tar­ian City (IHC), had launched the data bank in Fe­bru­ary this year, dur­ing the World Gov­ern­ment Sum­mit.

The bank came into be­ing with the ef­forts of 70 UN agen­cies and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions. Speak­ing to Khaleej Times, Giuseppe Saba, CEO of the IHC), said the on­line plat­form records avail­able aid stock, ex­ported stock and the coun­tries that the re­lief items have reached, with a sum­mary of con­tri­bu­tions of each gov­ern­ment. The data bank is aimed at help­ing gov­ern­ments in emer­gen­cies re­sult­ing from con­flicts or natural dis­as­ters to ac­cess real-time informatio­n and seek help from the near­est coun­try with needed stock.

It will also al­low global map­ping of avail­able re­lief items, which will help avoid the du­pli­ca­tion of re­sources sent to con­flict zones.

“Many a time, you have an ex­cess of blan­kets for ex­am­ple, and low num­bers of medicine or shel­ter. The bank will help gov­ern­ments place their re­sources ef­fec­tively and save money,” said Saba on the side­lines of the Dubai In­ter­na­tional Hu­man­i­tar­ian Aid and De­vel­op­ment (Di­had) Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion.

10 more coun­tries to join the ini­tia­tive

While Dubai has al­ready gone live with its informatio­n di­rectly de­rived from Dubai Cus­toms to keep track of ex­ported aid stock, Saba said the sys­tem will be du­pli­cated in 10 other coun­tries by the end of this year.

The plat­form that was dis­played dur­ing Di­had showed that the UAE has $43.5 mil­lion of aid avail­able for reach, in­clud­ing food, shel­ter, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, health and ed­u­ca­tion.

The coun­tries, which in­clude Panama, will have the op­por­tu­nity to reg­is­ter their informatio­n from their con­cerned agen­cies, on the on­line plat­form, to keep track of their stock and value.

The informatio­n ex­change plat­form will be ac­ces­si­ble to gov­ern­ments and hu­man­i­tar­ian agen­cies. More than do­na­tion, he said the plat­form provides informatio­n, the main el­e­ment in sus­tain­ing aid in an ef­fec­tive man­ner that saves money and op­ti­mises re­sources at a time where agen­cies are fac­ing in­ter­na­tional for­eign aid cuts.

“Today, we are talk­ing about im­pact more than the do­na­tions

Many a time, you have an ex­cess of blan­kets for ex­am­ple, and low num­bers of medicine or shel­ter. The bank will help gov­ern­ments place their re­sources ef­fec­tively and save money.” Giuseppe Saba, CEO, In­ter­na­tional Hu­man­i­tar­ian City

them­selves. We need to pro­vide items today that will still be of use tomorrow, and we will not be able to do that without informatio­n,” said Saba.

Held under the theme ‘Sus­tain­abil­ity in Emer­gency Aid,’ Di­had has brought to­gether over 60 agen­cies and com­pa­nies to work on a roadmap for hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance. The con­fer­ence ends today. Dur­ing her open­ing speech on Mon­day, Princess Haya em­pha­sised de­vel­op­ing ef­fec­tive strate­gies that will help gov­ern­ments to fore­see and re­act to crises be­fore they turn into emer­gen­cies.

The UAE has spent $65 mil­lion in re­sponse to hu­man­i­tar­ian aid in 2017 to 91 coun­tries in­clud­ing Bangladesh, Iraq, Ye­men and Su­dan. Last year, $9.8 mil­lion went to Bangladesh, of which $6.8 mil­lion was spent on shel­ter alone. The UAE has sent out 13 flights with aid, car­ry­ing 1,300 tonnes of water, health, food and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions to Bangladesh.

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