NEW YORK: In this September 9, 2014 file photo, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon honors His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as a 'Humanitarian Leader' and Kuwait as a 'Humanitarian Center'. - KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait marks today the sixth anniversary of the UN honoring of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as a 'Humanitarian Leader' and Kuwait as an 'International Humanitarian Center'. Though COVID-19 continues to infect people and claim lives, His Highness the Amir continued to lead and orchestrate Kuwaiti efforts to provide fellow humans with a helping hand.

On September 9, 2014, then-Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Ban Ki-moon held a special function at the UN headquarters in New York to commemorate the Kuwaiti leadership and people commitment to world humanitarian causes. "We thank the Amir and the people of Kuwait for their outstanding generosity… Kuwait's leadership and funding has saved lives, and has galvanized others to participate in coordinated international action," Ban said in remarks at a ceremony recognizing the humanitarian leadership of His Highness the Amir at the UN headquarters in New York. "At a time when so many of our appeals are under-funded, it is good to know we can count on Kuwait's generosity," he added.

His Highness the Amir said, during the ceremony, that Kuwait had always based its foreign policy on "the necessity of providing humanitarian aid for all countries in need" regardless of geographic boundaries, religion or ethnicity. He revealed that in 2008, Kuwait had allocated around 10 percent of its support towards UN relief causes connected with natural disasters and wars. Since ascension to power in 2006, His Highness the Amir made it his and Kuwait's mission to assist countries in the region and the world to fight off poverty and mishaps.

Whether aiding Yemen with $100 million in 2015, holding and co-hosting several conferences to help assist Syrians suffering from war since 2011 or contributing $176 million during Washington's 2016 donors' conference for Iraq, His Highness the Amir painted a clear picture of Kuwait's humanitarian diplomacy. It is worthy to note that Kuwait had held on February 12-14, 2018 the Kuwait donors International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq, an event that resulted in a $30 billion pledge.

Palestinians were not forgotten in Kuwait's humanitarian efforts with the GCC country providing, during the era of His Highness the Amir, $34 million and $15 million to UNRWA in 2009 and 2013 respectively. In present times, His Highness the Amir acknowledged the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and issued a decree on March 26, 2020 allocating a sum of KD 10 million to implement the national anti-coronavirus emergency program. His Highness also instructed state bodies to bring back Kuwaitis from abroad and also aid down-on-their-luck expatriates to help pull through during the measures put to halt the spread of the disease.

Top figures celebrate
His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received yesterday several congratulatory cables from top Kuwaiti figures marking the anniversary. Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem, Chief of the Kuwait National Guard (KNG) His Highness Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah, Deputy KNG chief Sheikh Meshaal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah all sent cables, expressing their joy during this occasion.

They reflected upon the importance of the UN honoring, saying that it came to crown His Highness the Amir and Kuwait's efforts in aiding people affected by war, poverty, and natural disasters. His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince replied with cables to the officials commending them on their sincere wishes and gratitude towards His Highness the Amir. His Highness Sheikh Nawaf took the chance to mark this joyous occasion, saying that His Highness the Amir's UN honoring came to recognize his long-term efforts within the domain of humanitarian relief. His Highness Sheikh Nawaf expressed wishes of swift recovery for His Highness the Amir and also hoped for the continuous progress for Kuwait and its people.

In the meantime, representative of the UN General Secretary and Resident Coordinator to the State of Kuwait Dr Tariq Al-Sheikh praised the diplomatic and humanitarian initiatives of His Highness the Amir. He expressed congratulations on the anniversary, and also expressed best wishes to His Highness the Amir for a long life and wellness in leading humanitarian work in various local, regional and international forums.

Sheikh said that His Highness the Amir has left a good impression on how Kuwait adopted peace as a base for its national and foreign policies. He noted that cooperation and partnership with the United Nation and all its organizations and programs have helped in the continuous noticeable humanitarian work.

In this regard, he referred to efforts spent by Kuwait during the novel coronavirus pandemic and its generous funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) in response for the call by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to support affected areas around the world. This funding helped in providing healthcare for many countries with refugees and highly affected areas such as Yemen where Kuwait supported more than 100 health centers, Sheikh added.

He also pointed to Kuwait's participation in international experiments aiming at a vaccine for COVID-19 in coordination with WHO. On local the level, Al-Sheikh praised the strategy undertaken by Kuwait government to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting a comprehensive plan in coordinating with civil and private institutions to decrease the negative impacts of the pandemic on affected people. He noted the coordination, cooperation and consultation between the UN and Kuwait official and civil humanitarian institutions, topped by Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS).

Source of price
The anniversary is a source of great pride for Kuwait and each national in this country, KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer said in a statement, adding that KRCS continues efforts in offering humanitarian aid to people in need all over the world to alleviate their sufferings, with the support of His Highness the Amir. "His Highness the Amir worked tirelessly in making Kuwait a pioneering country in the humanitarian field, by offering international humanitarian initiatives, and hosting many activities on that matter," he said. "His Highness the Amir is keen on participating in such events, as our country during the recent years totally supported many humanitarian activities," he said.

The humanitarian work has flourished during the reign of His Highness the Amir all over the globe, especially through the distinguished effort of KRCS, he added. KRCS with the support of His Highness the Amir become a prestigious source of welfare, in respect to its fast field response in all regions in need all over the world, as the work of the society reflects Kuwait's foreign official status, he said. Sayer prayed to Allah Almighty for a safe return of His Highness the Amir from the medical trip in the United States. - KUNA