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UN High Commissioner for Refugees highlights centrality of Dubai in facilitating humanitarian response to numerous crises

WAM DUBAI, Mar 26th, 2013 (WAM)–HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, paid a joint visit to the International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai this afternoon.

During the visit, they toured the transport and logistics facilities and were briefed about the IHC’s role, being the world’s largest and busiest logistics hub for humanitarian aid, hosting 9 UN agencies and 44 NGOs and commercial entities.

The IHC was established by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2003 and is chaired by UN Messenger of Peace HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein.

Year by year, the amount of assistance that has been delivered to the expanding humanitarian emergencies have increased dramatically. In 2012, UNHCR transmitted 112 outgoing shipments to 22 countries totalling over 5,000 metric tonnes of humanitarian supplies from the UAE -a 77 per cent increase compared to 2011.

UNHCR established its global emergency stockpile in the United Arab Emirates in 2006 at the IHC. The High Commissioner emphasised the centrality of Dubai in facilitating the humanitarian response to numerous crises, not only in the region, but globally. He expressed his gratitude to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for continuing to host UNHCR’s global stockpile.

He also praised HRH for her humanitarian commitment to refugees worldwide. UNHCR’s emergency warehouse in Dubai is the organisation’s largest global stockpile of humanitarian relief and makes up half of the organisation’s global stockpile.

“We are so proud to host UNHCR’s global stockpile in Dubai,” stated HRH Princess Haya. “Antonio Guterres is a superb statesman and he and his staff are doing such vital work today, especially reaching out to the victims of civil conflict in Syria and other trouble spots. In the UAE we want to help the aid community in real, concrete ways. As Sheikh Mohammed put it, ‘Our heritage is to give through deeds, not words, through projects not speech.’ The IHC does just that.” The IHC’s capabilities and strategic location – within eight hours by air to two-thirds of the world’s population – have helped deliver assistance in some of the worst humanitarian crises of the past decade.

The High Commissioner is on an official two-day visit to United Arab Emirates where he delivered a keynote address at the tenth anniversary of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid ‘&’ Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD).

WAM/MN