x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Emirates' Dh3bn gift to the world

UAE leaders have established the basis for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty, says Sheikh Hamdan.

UAE Mobile Hospital in the Horn of Africa doubled its capacity to provide treatment for children in refugee camps.
UAE Mobile Hospital in the Horn of Africa doubled its capacity to provide treatment for children in refugee camps.

DUBAI // The Emirates gave more than Dh2.8billion in foreign aid last year and pledged another Dh2.8bn for future disbursement, according to the UAE Foreign Aid 2010 Report.

The 120-page second annual report details how much money was spent by 31 donor organisations - including the Government, local charities and the private sector - on shelter, food, conflict resolution and construction of schools, hospitals and highways in 2010.

"UAE leaders have established the basis for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi and President of the Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA), which released the report on Monday.

He also praised the UAE for "providing urgent relief to those suffering the effects of natural disasters and man-made crises".

The Government was the largest single donor and gave more than Dh1bn. This was followed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, that gave Dh798m and the UAE Red Crescent Authority, Dh364m.

The money was also to help countries meet the Millennium Development Goals such as eradicating malaria, promoting primary education and reducing the effect of climate change.

The report breaks down aid disbursed by country, regions, donors and the sectors contributed.

The Palestinian Territories received the most aid with more than Dh362 million in donations. Another of the biggest beneficiaries, Pakistan, received Dh310m, of which Dh258.4m was provided to assist during the floods that began in July last year.

Interestingly, the US was the fourth largest recipient of UAE aid. In 2009, a children's hospital in Washington DC received a large injection of funds. However, the report did not specify the kind of assistance the country received in 2010.

Regionally, Asia was the largest beneficiary, receiving nearly 53 per cent of the total funds, while the Middle East received the most funds in the subregion.

Most of the contribution by the UAE to the 120 countries was in the form of cash donations. In-kind donations included vehicles or the services of medical personnel. Assistance was also given in the form of grants and loans.

In 2009, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported the UAE's Official Development Assistance to be 0.36 per cent - revised from its previous 0.33 per cent - of its Gross National Income and ranked it as the 14th largest donor in the world in 2009 and the first among the countries, which is not a member of the Development Assistance Committee.

In 2009, the UAE reported more than Dh9.7bn in donations: a total of Dh4.6bn was actually distributed while Dh5.1bn was committed for future disbursement.

"The lower overall figure for disbursements in 2010 reflects an established pattern in UAE aid flows, in which disbursements for major projects or programmes do not always follow an annual cycle," the report said.

"The figures for commitments were affected by three very large commitments made in the second half of 2009 for Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which will be disbursed over several years.

Based on its contributions for 2010, the report estimates the UAE's Official Development Assistance (ODA) to be 0.17 per cent of its Gross National Income.

It went on to say: "While this figure is lower than for 2009, it is still higher than the estimated 2010 ratios for Italy and Korea."

The OECD is expected to publish foreign assistance rankings for countries in 2010 next month.

The OCFA was established by Cabinet decree in 2008 with a mission to "co-ordinate and support UAE-based donor organisations, by providing information, expert advice and training, and documenting aid flows, to ensure that the UAE's humanitarian and development assistance is as effective as possible".

This is the second annual report released by OCFA, which aims to make the country's aid sector "transparent and accountable".

pkannan@thenational.ae