HE the Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Dr Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Muraikhi praised Qatar’s role in the the field of humanitarian action, and its humanitarian contributions at the global level, describing them as a pivotal role compatible with all international standards.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA) following his appointment as Special Adviser to the secretary-general of the United Nations, HE Dr al-Muraikhi said that the Qatari humanitarian action is distinct, based on international standards and conforms with the foundations and rules of international action, adding that it also recorded an active presence at the global level.
He noted the important role and global achievements recorded by the Qatari humanitarian organisations during the past years, pointing out that the Educate A Child (EAC) programme, which works under the umbrella of the Education Above All Foundation, led by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, has succeeded in achieving its goal and enrolling 10mn children around the world back into school.
In this context, Dr al-Muraikhi said that, for example, Qatar Charity has consultative status in the United Nations, and has a strong partnership with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) and most other humanitarian organisations, along with many sectors and civil society organisations, which play important roles in this regard, in addition to Qatar’s presidency, represented by the Qatar Development Fund for the UN Donor Support Group.
He also underlined that Qatar Foundation for Social Action also enjoys a strong partnership with the UN organisations, as in last December it organised a unique international conference entitled Doha International Conference on Disability and Development, stressing that civil society institutions and national humanitarian organisations have distinctive and strategic partnerships with UN organisations and play an active role at the humanitarian and development levels.
He added that there is a systematic institutional work in Qatar in the humanitarian sector and civil society organisations in general, and this did not come from a vacuum, but rather is a result of local laws regulating this work and which are based on international standards.
The UN official also stressed that he found a Qatari commitment to the standards and practices that have been adopted by the Security Council relating to the control of the movement of funds, pointing out that the presence of a government body, which is the Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities (RACA), in Qatar to organise charitable work, indicates the country’s commitment to international standards governing charitable and humanitarian work.
He added that given the local legal system and the monitoring and implementation mechanism, Qatar is a role model in the region and is a unique and distinctive model in terms of the association of humanitarian and civil society organisations with UN institutions, in addition to the internal system that specify the frameworks of these Qatari organisations, pointing out that this strengthened the Qatari humanitarian work and enhanced the steadfastness in facing challenges, supported by generous people.
Dr al-Muraikhi praised the Qatari efforts in the development and humanitarian field through the Qatar Fund for Development, the executive arm of Qatar, in the humanitarian and development assistance, affirming that the Fund gives a boost and strength to Qatar’s assistance and its role in the humanitarian and development field and in making pledges and fulfilling them according to their deadlines.
In this regard, Dr al-Muraikhi said that what distinguishes Qatar is its full commitment to implement any pledges professionally through the Fund by following the sound foundations of humanitarian and development work, which ensures the maximum benefit from contributions and grants.
On Qatar hosting a number of the United Nations offices, Dr Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Muraikhi stressed the importance of the presence of these offices, noting that the United Nations House will soon be opened in Doha and will include representative offices of a number of UN organs, which will positively reflect on Qatar’s ability in implementing its regional and global activities and programmes.
The presence of these offices provides an opportunity to enhance co-operation with local governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations, as well as an opportunity for Qatari cadres to join the United Nations, He pointed out.
Dr Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Muraikhi also noted that the first round table was held with various entities in Qatar, governmental and non-governmental, with the United Nations organisations working in the country, in order to develop a strategy and mechanism for interaction between local organisations and bodies to raise the level of cooperation and achieve 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and international standards related to humanitarian and development action.
Regarding the impact of the blockade imposed on Qatar, particularly on the humanitarian work path, Dr al-Muraikhi said that indicators confirm that Qatar has overcome the blockade.
He said, “We, as international organisations, are seeing the continuation of the Qatari giving, and we note that Qatar has not changed its approach to giving and contributing to humanitarian work despite the current conditions.”
In this context, he pointed out that the blockade has impacted negatively the process of co-operation between the GCC in the field of humanitarian action, and dispersed efforts in providing aid, adding that the focus was on less important issues, rather than on unifying humanitarian efforts and co-ordination between the GCC states in giving grants and aid.
He pointed out that his appointment to the position of special adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations is an indication of Qatar’s position regionally and internationally, and in particular its role in humanitarian and development work at the global level, as well as the great influence and tight organisation of this role, which contributed to facing many humanitarian crises around the world.
Also, he clarified that this appointment is based on the United Nations secretary-general’s vision that aimed at restructuring the United Nations and reorganising the leadership positions in the organisation, pointing out that the past three years he has spent as a special envoy of the UN secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs enhanced his association with humanitarian organisations and activities, especially with regard to the Syrian issue, as he chaired the meeting of the major donors’ group for Syria, which was formed after the second conference held in Kuwait.
On the roles assigned to the new position (Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations), Dr
Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Muraikhi clarified in his interview with QNA that one of the specialisations is to continue links between the private sector and United Nations organisations, which is achieved by the initiative of the Executive Committee of the Global Humanitarian Action Executive Alliance (GHAEA), besides the South-South co-operation, which is one of the tasks that Qatar sponsors, as well as promoting the humanitarian and development partnership between Qatar and United Nations organisations, and providing advice to the secretary-general on dialogue and relationships with regional organisations and member states, and advice on ways and mechanisms to correct misconceptions about the UN system and its work, and other tasks.
Speaking about the role he played during his tenure as the Special Envoy of the UN secretary-general, HE Dr
al-Muraikhi said that he worked on three areas, internally (in Qatar), regionally, and internationally.
He stated that with regard to Qatar, he has co-ordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on how to qualify Qatari humanitarian leaders and involve Qatari youth and cadres in this system, and any group of young people that can be attracted and desired in humanitarian work.
He added that with the approval and support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a number of meetings were held with various entities such as the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Qatar University, Georgetown University, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Leadership Centre and the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and discussed the rehabilitation and integration of Qatari leaders to work in the United Nations organisations.
He also said that he had discussed the possibility of establishing a club at Qatar University to contain those who have been qualified for humanitarian work, and a proposal to sign a memorandum of understanding between the university and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the future leaders programme in the humanitarian and development fields, while strengthening the trend to enhance the benefit of Qatari youth from the United Nations offices operating in the country, organising field visits to humanitarian cases and attending the meetings of the UN General Assembly with the aim of engaging in this field and knowing how to work in the organisation and expanding their awareness of this work, which enhances their love of giving and humanitarian work.
HE Dr al-Muraikhi said that he also worked to enhance the partnership between the Qatari private sector and UN organisations through the “United Nations Global Compact” where a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the Qatar Financial Centre and the United Nations Global Compact.
He also affirmed the importance of the Qatari private sector participating with the United Nations organisations through the (Global Compact), because of the benefit that this partnership brings to both sides, and that allows Qatari companies to see the mechanism of action in accordance with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
He explained that the United Nations Global Compact is an invitation for companies to align their strategies and operations with ten global principles related to human rights, work, the environment and anti-corruption, and to take measures that enhance societal goals and implement sustainable development goals by engaging thousands of companies of all sizes and sectors from around the world.
The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations also indicated that this agreement seeks to achieve sustainability in the private sector strategies and basic operations, not only for the benefit of society, but for the benefit of companies as well.
Regarding working on a regional scale, HE Dr Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Muraikhi touched on his efforts in strengthening co-operation relations between the United Nations and both the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) and the League of Arab States as well as intensifying efforts and unifying them in humanitarian disasters, in addition to proposing an initiative pertaining to investing Zakat, Endowments and Charities to confront the growing humanitarian needs in the Islamic world.
In this context, he affirmed that the humanitarian needs are constantly increasing with the occurrence of crises and disasters especially in the countries of the Islamic world.
He said that while visiting refugee camps in various countries, he recognised the great need for limited resources along with the constant pressure on donors, the increase in the humanitarian needs of the displaced, and refugees in the world.
HE Dr al-Muraikhi said that the volume of humanitarian needs around the world has jumped this year to more than $28bn from only $7bn in 2009, adding that needs are continuing to increase despite the United Nations organisations’ efforts that seek to provide the minimum requirements for the needy, most of them are in the Islamic world.
He underlined that that most of the disasters occur in the Islamic world specifically in the Middle East region and that they are seeking to exploit the income of Zakat and other instruments of Islamic finance to meet the humanitarian needs in the region.
He said that the estimates of Zakat in the Islamic world range between $300 and 500bn which is a large number, pointing out that the initiative revolves around how to benefit from this income by finding a mechanism within the United Nations organisations that is compatible with Islamic Sharia law and linked to Zakat recipients.
Working through United Nations organisations is safer and faster to reach those in need, and it also allows countries to provide aid and deliver Zakat to those who are entitled to in accordance to a transparent mechanism that is compatible with the standards of the United Nations, he added.
HE Dr al-Muraikhi noted that some of the United Nations organisations have already started, in co-operation with Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey, paying Zakat to the United Nations organisations, pointing out that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides Zakat funds to those who are entitled to without deducting any administrative percentage from them.
He affirmed that the implementation of this initiative on the ground in a greater and more comprehensive way needs to control and develop a mechanism in line with the Shariah law, the matter that requires time and the use of expertise of scholars specialised in the financial field and Islamic finance in addition to the experiences of the United Nations organisations to develop an appropriate and effective mechanism.
At the International level, Dr Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Muraikhi said that during his tenure as a special envoy to the UN secretary-general, he worked to create a strategic partnership between UN organisations working in the humanitarian field and the private sector around the world, by establishing the Global Humanitarian Action Executive Alliance (GHAEA). This initiative, he said, came after careful consideration of the efforts made by the UN organisations working in the humanitarian and private sector, noting that these efforts are appreciated, but are individual, dispersed and not based on a strategic vision for the future and how to benefit from the companies collectively to develop solutions to the problems that exist in the humanitarian action in order to save time, effort, money, focus and creativity.
Dr al-Muraikhi emphasised that the goal is not only to collect money, but to establish a mechanism for the creative implementation of humanitarian actions that cuts time and effort, pointing out that the presence of the private sector constitutes a qualitative addition to changing the way of dealing with problems, as well as the use of innovation and technology in implementing projects, which positively affects the work of the UN organisations by strengthening the business mentality in carrying out business and developing solutions to problems according to the principle of profit and loss, and the philosophy of the private sector in this regard.
Accordingly, this partnership under the umbrella of the Global Alliance aims to enhance humanitarian action and optimise the utilisation of available resources leading to large outputs at the lowest costs, as in the corporate philosophy, as well as the proper use of the technology available in the private sector and make best use of it, he said.
He also confirmed the keenness to choose partners from the private sector from various fields, such as the logistic supply sector, the financial and technological sector, communications, the medical sector, pharmacy and the insurance sector.
Education, especially female education, is a priority for this alliance, given its importance and the need for it in light of the current disasters, which cause millions of people to drop out of education. “We are currently working on this matter, and implementation will take place during this year. According to the directives of the UN secretary-general, the focus will be on several areas, including health, in the coming period,” the UN secretary-general’s Special Adviser said.
Dr al-Muraikhi praised the enthusiasm shown by companies for this initiative.
During GHAEA’s meeting on Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the private sector and UN organisations to adopt that mechanism and strategy that was developed to implement the initiative, he said.
He noted the support of Qatar for the initiative from the beginning, as well as its support for all meetings since its inception.
HE Dr al-Muraikhi said that the initiative to establish the Global Humanitarian Action Executive Alliance is a long-term initiative that will lead to multiple sources of funding for humanitarian action, contribute to the promotion and stimulation of thinking in a different and unconventional way, through which humanitarian actions will be implemented in an innovative and creative way, besides people’s participation on the ground and their actual and real needs.
At the end of his interview with QNA, Dr al-Muraikhi said that this initiative focuses on joint gain, adding that in addition to humanitarian work, it contributes to opening new markets for the private sector, as it allows them to test their products, know the extent of their success and make adjustments to them.
This initiative, he said, also seeks to achieve growth and find a working mechanism for its future application with more diversified partners, in addition to involve countries through their own sectors, thereby reducing the state’s burden to provide grants and fulfil its commitments.
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