Dubai launch­pad for mis­sion to re­build fund­ing for UN aid work

▶ Head of re­lief agency for Pales­tine ex­plains threats to schools and health­care sys­tems

The National - News - - NEWS EMIRATES - NICK WEB­STER

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.”

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