The Global Innovation Meeting, organised by Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Solferino Academy kicked off on Sunday at Doha Exhibition and Convention Center and will continue for three days.
HE QRCS President Dr Mohamed bin Ghanem al-Ali al-Maadheed said that one of the objectives of the meeting was to exchange ideas and insights on innovation in humanitarian work, and to review the challenges in this area, pointing out in a related context that humanitarian institutions are currently under a great deal of pressure, which creates a clash between management and activists.
He added: "We at Qatar Red Crescent tried to do that by adapting our philosophy. We empower our managers and improve our transparency through decentralised governance. In any organisation, the most important thing is the mission. If we begin to see innovation as our mission, we have to be careful. Remember, innovation is a tool, not an objective in itself. It requires knowledge and ethics. Actually, it will help us sometimes in getting research grants. We have to be very critical when adopting change."
He said: "Throughout my career over the past 30 years, it was full of innovations in every possible field: information systems, communication, electronics, technologies, biotechnologies, artificial intelligence, management, and organisational setup. "
Al-Maadheed added: "I chair a new medical research centre that examines using antibiotics in diagnostics to hopefully produce new drugs. This is very close to innovation. In health care, we have a lot of things to come up with. We have many systems, especially quality systems, which are strongly related to processes and outcomes. And the systems allow you to identify gaps and opportunities for development. It is a well-established rule within the culture and industry of health care and medical research."
For his part, the Head of Innovation at IFRC Shaun Hazeldine said: "Qatar Red Crescent is a strong National Society that has a lot of work in many countries. We are strongly grateful for being here. This is a good opportunity to recognise the huge work done worldwide and build on the partnership we have in the movement, with the organisation to support communities. This is the fourth time we are holding a global innovation meeting. We held the first one three years ago in Denmark. With only 20 people attending. So, it has grown largely over the years."
He added: "This is the biggest humanitarian network in the world, with 450,000 staff, some 13-14mn volunteers, and 160 branches. We are here because we have to decide on what to change. I hope the coming couple of days will be a chance to talk to each other, to share your experiences, and to tell people what is going well as well as what is not going well. We are all in trouble. We all have troubles, just as we all have successes."
On the sidelines of the meeting, QRCS Secretary-General Ali bin Hassan al-Hammadi told reporters about the importance of innovation in humanitarian work. He said that QRCS will continue its work in this field and that this meeting is being held because of its positive role in developing innovation in humanitarian work as the basis of everything.
Al-Hammadi underlined areas of humanitarian action, saying that they are in the greatest need of innovation, and mentioned them as hospitals and other health facilities, and the water and sanitation field, and hoped that the meeting would achieve the desired goals for the benefit of all participants, including the local Qatari community.
Al-Hammadi stressed Qatari Red Crescent's leadership in innovating in the field of humanitarian work in the region, and its keenness to organise and hold such events to develop the capabilities of people and target bodies in the various areas of humanitarian work, adding that innovation in humanitarian action will facilitate the delivery of service and will reduce costs, time and effort.
He also stressed the close interdependence between humanitarian and political diplomacy, pointing out that one of the advantages of humanitarian diplomacy is to save lives by providing support and assistance to those in need.
He also acknowledged the multiple partnerships of QRCS and said that the participation of a large number of States, national organisations and societies in this meeting is a clear indication that humanitarian action represents a partnership between all, free from any discrimination.
He revealed that QRCS has spent last year about QR150mn in aid to the needy in different parts of the world, and it is expected to increase this amount during the current year, due to the increase and spread of its work, especially in Africa and Asia.
The inaugural session was attended by several dignitaries from Qatar and abroad, and a group of humanitarian, legal and technical experts from more than 50 countries around the world.
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