Dubai launchpad for mission to rebuild funding for UN aid work
▶ Head of relief agency for Palestine explains threats to schools and healthcare systems
Aid organisations are facing financial crises after global funding cuts and lack of public confidence.
Calls to support a global campaign by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees were made at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition yesterday.
They came after the announcement by US President Donald Trump to withhold more than half the country’s funding commitment to the UN agency, which provides education, psychosocial support and safety training to more than 47,000 Palestine refugees.
Speaking at the conference, Pierre Kraehenbuhl, commissioner general of the UN agency, said reduced funding was making it harder to reach those most in need.
“In light of our funding crisis we have launched a global campaign to engage many private sectors and foundations,” Mr Kraehenbuhl said. “By engaging with related national institutions we will be in a stronger position to ensure progress.
“I look to all of our partners for co-operation and support. If 525,000 students no longer have access to education, if 3 million patients no longer have access to health care and if 1.7 million people no longer receive emergency assistance, we will see a catastrophic rise in insecurity.
“For the moment, our schools and clinics remain open, but this will only last until May so we need a global mobilisation.”
A conference in Rome on March 17 has been announced to address the matter.
Other aid organisations are also suffering from a cash crisis after reports of exploitation of vulnerable people by a minority of aid workers.
Oxfam risks losing its UK state budget of £34 million (Dh172.6m) after allegations of staff misconduct in Haiti and Chad, as thousands of donors have withdrawn contributions.
The exhibition is displaying solutions to help aid organisations make best use of their resources and reach those in the most remote areas.
One of those solutions is YahClick Wi-Fi, quickly installed internet broadband provided by UAE telecoms company Yahsat.
“This spot-beam technology is cost effective,” said Najat Abdulrahman, executive vice president of global strategic business development at Yahsat.
“We are about to launch a onestop shop for online education for people in remote or desolate areas where there are no teachers or schools.”
YahClick Wi-Fi offers internet speeds up to 16 Mbps with coverage across the Middle East and Africa. Its installation can take less than 24 hours with data coverage up to 250 metres from the base station.
“Satellite technology is enabling remote learning and health care,” Ms Abdulrahman said. “Once people have access they are able to access a whole new world of opportunity.”