Since 2014, the government of the UAE has been the world’s top humanitarian aid donor by GDP, according to the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This came on the back of a tripling of foreign aid contributions in 2012, which culminated in the country giving away from than 1.3% of its GDP per year from 2014 onwards, or more than AED 18-billion (on average).
This tells only half the story though, because while the UAE government has been active in supporting humanitarian crises in the region, with more than US $500-million spent on helping Syrian refugees since 2011, for instance, it has also positioned the country as a global humanitarian response hub. This was done through the establishment of the International Humanitarian City (IHC), which provides warehousing and international freight transport to aid agencies for free.
The IHC is home to the World Food Program, World Health Organisation, UNHCR, the Red Cross, Emirates Red Crescent and several other global NGOs. In March this year it was announced that the government had approved plans to expand, at its expanse, the warehousing provision in the IHC. The storage space will be tripled, enabling the world’s largest humanitarian logistics hub and its member United Nations aid agencies and NGOs to respond more efficiently to several crises and disasters and meet a sharp rise in global demand for emergency aid.
According to IHC’s incoming CEO Giuseppe Saba, the expansion will see the total warehousing facilities space increased to 360,000 square meters. "A few years ago, IHC underwent its first tripling in size, up to the current 105,000 square meter space in the Dubai Industrial City. The total number of shipments delivered for emergency responses by IHC's members from 2011 to 2016 climbed to 8,211 worth AED 2.298 billion - $625.9 million. In addition to this, from 2009 to2014, IHC’s humanitarian impact has increased by 87 per cent," Saba told WAM.
To help its members meet their immediate growth needs, IHC will expand the current facilities by an additional 20 per cent (20,000 square meters), to reach 120,000 square meters of storage space. It will then embark on the broader expansion plan, which will result in tripling the size of the IHC a second time to reach 360,000 square meters.
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