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05ABUDHABI2358 2005-05-25 09:20:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Abu Dhabi
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250920Z May 05
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABU DHABI 002358 



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sweden co-hosted
a meeting in Abu Dhabi on 9 May to discuss coordination of
international humanitarian assistance. The meeting was part of
an evolving campaign to engage emerging donors in humanitarian
response activities. Each the participating countries provided
short presentations on their humanitarian assistance strategies,
and common themes included the need for improved coordination of
the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the desire of
emerging donors to be included during the planning stages for
humanitarian operations. End Summary.

2. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sweden - in its capacity
as chair of the Donor Support Group for the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) - co-hosted a meeting
in Abu Dhabi on 9 May to discuss coordination of international
humanitarian assistance. The meeting was initiated by the OCHA
Donor Support Group and OCHA. Mrs. Sana'a Darwish Al Kitby,
Secretary-General of the UAE Red Crescent Society chaired on

behalf of the UAE. In addition to the two chair countries,
participants came from Canada, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Saudi
Arabia, South Africa Switzerland, the US and UN OCHA. South
Korea was also invited but was unable to attend. The US was
represented by Bill Garvelink, acting Assistant Administrator for
USAID's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs
and US Mission Geneva AIDREP.

3. OCHA made short presentations to the group on the status of
several structures and tools created by the UN to facilitate
humanitarian action. These include: The Consolidated Appeals
Process (CAP); the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC); the UN
Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams (UNDAC); and the
International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG). OCHA
also focused on the importance of "broadening partnerships" to
improve the predictability of funding for humanitarian
operations; to augment stand-by arrangements and to increase the
number of protection staff in the field. OCHA touched on the
issues of integrated UN missions, civil-military relations in
peace-keeping operations; internally displaced persons and
refugees; and transition programming in post-conflict situations.

4. All of the participating countries provided short
presentations on their humanitarian assistance strategies,
focusing on their roles as donors, as advocates and as
operational partners. The group underscored the importance of
maintaining humanitarian principles when providing assistance,
and recognized the different strengthens among various donors
that would lead to differing ways of contributing. "Partnership"
did not imply "sameness." The goal was to build a global system
that would ensure a coherent overall approach and an effective
and timely response.

5. Presentations and comments made by the emerging donors (UAE,
India, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and South Africa) reflected
three general goals:

--Improve coordination in the delivery of humanitarian
--Include emerging donors during the planning for humanitarian
--Build national and regional capacities.

6. The three Gulf states in particular were critical of what
they saw as an absence of coordination. Kuwait raised concerns
that aid was often late or inappropriate, noting the abundance of
"unneeded" relief supplies that arrived in the aftermath of the
earthquake in Gujurat, India. Saudi Arabia highlighted problems
among the main donors, among the key humanitarian agencies, and
between NGOs and governments. All three states identified
coordination as vital for an effective international response.

7. Several of the emerging donors had taken steps within their
own governments to centralize humanitarian response. In Kuwait,
the Kuwaiti Fund for Economic Development finances most
humanitarian activities during the emergency as well as recovery
phases. In Saudi Arabia, which was represented at the meeting
by its Ministry of Finance, coordination of humanitarian aid
falls under a Coordinating Committee within the government.
According to the Saudi representative, the government prefers to
provide assistance "under one umbrella" - usually the Saudi Red
Crescent Society, to avoid the possibility of funding duplicate
activities with several partners. The Red Crescent Societies in
the UAE and Egypt also play central roles in administering
humanitarian assistance provided by the governments.

8. The emerging donors also stressed the need to engage them
early in the planning process. The UAE commented that the Gulf
states were not included at the outset in discussions about
humanitarian operations which engendered problems for all of them
in coordinating their responses. Saudi Arabia said that it
sought to respond to all UN appeals, but often had difficulty
getting access to information about the crisis or what was
needed. Egypt added that small donors also have a role to play
in defining humanitarian policies, and India called for "more
meaningful inter-governmental oversight" of UN humanitarian
assistance programs.

9. The emerging donors struck a common chord in favor of
building local and regional capacities. All agreed that the
primary responsibility for responding to disasters fell to the
government of the affected country. The UAE said that the goal
of international assistance should be to build the capacities of
affected countries through training and technology transfers.
Egypt echoed this goal, noting that it had a lot to offer in both
areas. South Africa said that it is being called upon
increasingly to play a greater role internationally and
regionally in disaster response, especially for slow-onset
disasters that affect large parts of Africa. Given that relief
operations depend upon transportation links, South Africa and the
UAE argued that it was both cost-effective and logical to develop
regional hubs in affected areas.

10. Participants agreed that the Abu Dhabi meeting was a welcome
step toward improved sharing of information and coordination.
The UAE requested that OCHA take steps to "accelerate" the
partnership initiative by sharing information more broadly and
identifying concrete proposals for the group to take forward.
Issues that the group might pursue include:

--Improved reporting of funding to OCHA statistical reporting
--Participation in and training for the UNDAC teams;
--Exchange of information within the group on monitoring and
evaluation of humanitarian programs;
--Exchange of information on activities and advocacy in specific
--Dialog on operational logistics, such as transport of
commodities and personnel;
--Advocacy on issues concerning international humanitarian law,
such as the protection and safety of humanitarian workers.

11. USAID COMMENT: This initial meeting was a constructive step
forward in building a dialog between the major Western donors and
emerging donors. The interest shown by the UAE in particular in
hosting the meeting and in seeking to identify concrete areas for
future collaboration indicates their desire to engage more
proactively with the larger donor community. We look forward to
working with the Swedes and OCHA as well as U.S. Embassy Abu
Dhabi in furthering this initiative to broaden the partnership
with emerging donors. END COMMENT.