Saudi Arabia stressed the importance of strengthening the coordination of international efforts related to humanitarian aid and “working hand in hand with the United Nations to alleviate the suffering of disaster-affected groups all over the world,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Sunday.
The Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN Ambassador Abdullah al-Mouallimi in a speech said that what the world is witnessing today in terms of natural and health disasters and conflicts “requires the international community to unite and unify its efforts to work jointly to extend a helping hand to those affected by these crises and mitigate the damages resulting from them.”
Al-Mouallimi said that COVID-19 has created complex and overlapping challenges at the humanitarian, health, economic, educational and social levels, stressing the Kingdom’s commitment to collective international action to address this pandemic, as it played a vital role through its presidency of the G20 last year.
Saudi Arabia also supported global efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic with donations amounting to $500 million, as well as providing $300 million to help efforts in several countries in addressing the pandemic.
The ambassador said that Saudi Arabia supports joint international efforts to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines, adding that the Kingdom is one of the three largest donors of humanitarian and development assistance at international level, according to the UN Financial Tracking Platform.
Women and children are the most affected groups in disaster situations, and they are the most in need of relief assistance, al-Mouallimi said in his speech.
Therefore, Saudi Arabia implements qualitative relief programs aimed at supporting and empowering these groups and strengthening the integrated protection of women and children affected in many countries, including Yemen and Somalia, he added.
In his speech, the ambassador pointed out that the Kingdom “believes in the importance of volunteer work, especially related to humanitarian and relief work,” citing Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which has given volunteer work great attention, placing it among its priorities.
Vision 2030 aims to focus on volunteer work, raise its efficiency and provide a supportive and appropriate environment for it.
Saudi Arabi’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has launched 170 voluntary humanitarian programs benefiting more than 378,000 people in 21 countries around the world at a cost of more than $41 million, al-Mouallimi said.
“The Kingdom believes in the vital and central role played by workers in relief and humanitarian organizations, and stresses the importance of protecting them, ensuring their safety and confronting all obstacles that affect their lives and the efficiency of delivering humanitarian aid to those who deserve it,” SPA reported.
Saudi Arabia also calls on the international community to continue to pressure militias and terrorist groups to abide by the principles of international humanitarian law and to stop its obstructive and threatening practices of relief work, the ambassador said in his speech.