UAE

Mohamed bin Zayed: A knight of generosity, a champion of global humanitarian work

UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Image Credit: UAE Presidential Court

Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a beacon of inspiration in the global humanitarian landscape, and Sheikh Mohamed’s life has been distinguished by unwavering support for people and nations in crisis.

Through his leadership in charitable and humanitarian projects worldwide, Sheikh Mohamed has continued to foster a culture of compassion and generosity.

The humanitarian initiatives of Sheikh Mohamed have contributed to strengthening the UAE’s position as a leading global donor in providing developmental and charitable assistance. His noble initiatives have followed the path laid by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, exemplifying the principles of human fraternity, tolerance, coexistence, and peace that the UAE promotes around the world.

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The recent granting of the ‘Global Humanitarian Personality’ award to Sheikh Mohamed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) underscores global recognition and appreciation for Sheikh Mohamed’s role and continued contributions to humanitarian relief efforts worldwide. The award has further solidified his status as one of the most notable models in the history of humanitarian work.

As a result of Sheikh Mohamed’s guidance and support, the UAE’s response to humanitarian crises has become an enduring feature around the world in recent years. This affirms that the country’s generosity knows no bounds, irrespective of geographical location, ethnicity, or religion.

Health

The journey of Sheikh Mohamed has been enriched with generosity, support, and initiatives aimed at advancing the healthcare sector worldwide, thereby enhancing international efforts to combat epidemics and diseases that pose a significant threat to human life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, which was one of the most prominent contemporary health challenges to have swept the world, Sheikh Mohamed swiftly extended a helping hand both near and far by inaugurating hospitals, providing vaccines, establishing humanitarian cities, and sending aid to the world without discrimination or distinction.

The humanitarian aid provided by the UAE during the pandemic included more than 2,000 tonnes of medical supplies directed through approximately 200 flights to 135 countries around the world.

The UAE set up field hospitals and mobile clinics during the pandemic in countries such as Sudan, Guinea, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkmenistan, and others. Additionally, aid was sent to 117 countries from the warehouses of international organisations located in the Dubai International Humanitarian City. Furthermore, a donation of US$ 10 million in-kind assistance was made by the UAE to the World Health Organization (WHO).

At the same time, the UAE has continued its multifaceted efforts and initiatives to achieve a world free from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect the lives of over 1.6 billion people. Sheikh Mohamed launched the Reaching the Last Mile Fund (RLMF) in 2017, a multi-donor fund with allocations of approximately US$ 500 million to support efforts to eradicate two NTDs in Africa.

Since its inception, the Fund has provided over 100 million treatments and contributed to the training of 1.3 million healthcare workers in close partnership with the countries where NTDs are endemic.

During the Reaching the Last Mile Forum held on the sidelines of COP28 last December, the UAE joined leaders from African countries and global partners in pledging over US$ 777 million to combat NTDs.

Furthermore, as part of Sheikh Mohamed’s initiative to eradicate polio worldwide, the UAE provided Pakistan with approximately 667.5 million doses of the polio vaccine from 2014 until the end of 2022, benefitting 17 million children.

The establishment of the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) in 2019 by Sheikh Mohamed, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, served as a crucial addition to the global health sector and its efforts to accelerate the eradication of preventable infectious diseases, particularly malaria, polio, NTDs, lymphatic filariasis, and river blindness.

Operation Chivalrous Knight

In February 2023, Sheikh Mohamed initiated Operation Chivalrous Knight 2 to support the people of Syria and Türkiye following the devastating earthquake that affected both countries.

The operation, which lasted until 13th July of the same year, was one of the most successful unified operations carried out by UAE entities. Its priorities were determined in coordination with authorities in the affected countries, embodying the UAE’s prominent humanitarian approach in line with the directives of its leadership to support communities around the world.

The operation resulted in the rescue of dozens from under the rubble and the treatment of 13,463 cases. Additionally, humanitarian assistance amounting to 15,164 tonnes was provided through an air bridge, which organised 260 flights carrying 6,912 tonnes of emergency aid, including tents, essential food, and medicines. Furthermore, 8,252 tonnes of humanitarian aid were transported using 4 cargo ships to deliver relief and reconstruction materials to the affected areas.

On 5th November of the same year, Sheikh Mohamed ordered the commencement of Operation Chivalrous Knight 3 to support the Palestinian people in Gaza due to the critical circumstances they have faced.

As part of the operation, total relief aid provided by the UAE to the Palestinian people until 8th May of the following year amounted to approximately 22,627 tonnes, transported via 224 cargo planes and 803 trucks, in addition to 3 cargo ships carrying aid.

The UAE inaugurated a comprehensive field hospital in the Gaza Strip and sent a floating hospital off the coast of Al Arish to treat Palestinian patients. Additionally, it established 6 desalination stations with a production capacity of 1.2 million gallons per day and provided 5 bakeries with a production capacity of 12,500-15,000 loaves per hour.

Sheikh Mohamed directed the hosting of one thousand Palestinians from Gaza suffering from cancer of all age groups to receive treatment and healthcare in UAE hospitals. He also directed the hosting of one thousand Palestinian children accompanied by their families from Gaza and the provision of all necessary healthcare until their recovery and return.

The UAE launched a campaign to aid Palestinians affected by the war in Gaza under the slogan “˜Tarahum for Gaza’, involving humanitarian and charity institutions, volunteering centres, the private sector, and all segments of society in the country, as well as the media.

Natural disasters

The UAE’s response to aid those affected by natural disasters worldwide embodies a key element of the UAE’s humanitarian work under the leadership of Sheikh Mohamed.

Under Sheikh Mohamed’s directives, the UAE swiftly provided humanitarian and relief aid in 2023 to those affected by Storm Daniel in Libya and the earthquake in some areas of Morocco. The UAE’s relief and humanitarian efforts also covered a significant number of countries, such as Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chad, and others facing natural disasters or humanitarian emergencies.

On 19th May 2022, Sheikh Mohamed directed the provision of urgent humanitarian aid worth AED 35 million to Somalia to support development efforts. In June of the same year, Sheikh Mohamed ordered the operation of an airlift carrying comprehensive food baskets, essential medical supplies, and a medical team, along with a field hospital, to aid victims of the earthquake in Afghanistan.

In response to the needs of the Palestinian people, Sheikh Mohamed directed the allocation of US$ 25 million on 9th July 2022 to support Al Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem to expand its medical services. Additionally, in August of the same year, Sheikh Mohamed ordered the provision of urgent humanitarian aid worth AED 25 million to those affected and displaced due to floods in Sudan. He also directed the provision of urgent relief to Pakistan, which witnessed floods and displacement in several regions.

On 18th October 2022, Sheikh Mohamed directed the provision of additional humanitarian relief worth US$ 100 million to civilians affected by the crisis in Ukraine, emphasising his belief in the importance of humanitarian solidarity, especially in times of conflict.

Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative

In line with the directives of Sheikh Mohamed, the UAE launched the Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative in February 2024 to address the urgent global challenge of water scarcity.

The initiative aims to raise awareness of the seriousness of the water scarcity crisis on an international level while accelerating the development of innovative technological solutions to address it. Additionally, it seeks to test the effectiveness of these solutions in confronting this escalating global challenge.

Moreover, the initiative strives to enhance cooperation with partners and stakeholders worldwide to advance technological innovation in addressing water scarcity and expand international cooperation. It also seeks to increase investments aimed at overcoming this challenge for the benefit of current and future generations.

On 1st March, a partnership was announced between the Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative and the American XPRIZE foundation to launch the XPRIZE Water Scarcity competition, funded by the initiative with US$ 150 million. The competition includes prizes totalling US$ 119 million to incentivise innovators around the world to submit effective and sustainable solutions and develop them to enhance the efficiency and affordability of water desalination technologies.

Zayed’s legacy

On 29th March 2024, Sheikh Mohamed directed the launch of the Zayed Humanitarian Legacy Initiative worth AED 20 billion, allocated for humanitarian activities in the most vulnerable communities around the world. This coincided with Zayed Humanitarian Day and the 20th anniversary of the passing of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The launch of the initiative aims to reinforce the humanitarian values embodied by the late Sheikh Zayed and extend his humanitarian legacy and the values of generosity and giving that he embraced in supporting humanitarian work worldwide.

This global humanitarian initiative seeks to enhance the quality of life for communities in need to build a prosperous future and achieve sustainable development. It also reaffirms the UAE’s commitment to the approach of the late Sheikh Zayed in contributing to community building and supporting vulnerable groups, thereby benefiting millions of people.

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