ABU DHABI, The United Arab Emirates has consolidated its position as a leading global supporter of children’s rights, through a range of initiatives and aid campaigns aimed at ensuring the rights of millions of children to health, education and food.
H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, is an icon of giving and support for childhood, both regionally and globally, and has accomplished numerous achievements in this area, most notably her prominent role in supporting Syrian refugee children, providing them with generous donations amounting to millions of dollars.
In 2014, Sheikha Fatima allocated a grant worth ₤60 million for the establishment of the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children in London.
The Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Volunteering Programme is the largest international humanitarian programme that eases the burdens of over 25 million children, elderly people and women, regardless colour, gender, ethnicity or religion.
The UAE’s polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan provided nearly 483 million vaccine doses since its establishment in 2014, reaching out to 86 million children.
The UAE has always played a pioneering international role in addressing the spread of polio. In 2011, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, allocated over US$250 million to support the global efforts to eradicate polio. In 2019, he hosted the “Reaching the Last Mile Forum,” which announced its commitment to end polio globally and generated over $2.8 billion.
The UAE is a partner and key support of the programmes of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) aimed at enhancing children’s health around the world. Under this framework, the UAE, represented by the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), signed a cooperation agreement with UNICEF in December 2020, donating AED1 million to support programmes aimed at reducing congenital malformations affecting new-born babies in Afghanistan.
Education The UAE has prioritised education, as it is a key to advancing communities, donating over $1.55 billion to support education projects around the world, including $284.4 million to assist countries affected by crises. Since 2017, the UAE cooperated with UNICEF and other partners to ensure the education of 20 million children in 59 countries.
The UAE also supports the right of children to education, by building schools and providing grants and funds to help vulnerable categories, most notably children. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) helped finance the construction of over 2,126 schools around the world until 2019. In February 2018, the country announced the donation of $100 million to the Global Partnership for Education, to improve the learning outcomes of 870 million children and youths in 89 developing countries.
The UAE is exerting significant efforts, in cooperation with its regional and international partners, to provide adequate education to refugee children around the world, by developing their future skills. The value of educational aid provided by the country in response to the Syrian crisis amounted to some AED190.1 million from 2012 to 2019.
Food The UAE is among the leading countries supporting the World Food Programme (WFP) and has launched many campaigns that distributed food aid to dozens of countries, which targeted children.
Since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting closure of schools, the WFP has been providing food aid, coupons and cash transfers, aided by the UAE, to improve the nutrition of the underprivileged children and prevent diseases. The number of children who received school meals amounted to 370 million.
Digital Protection Since 2001, the UAE has exerted significant efforts to protect children from the risks posed by the internet and the digital era. It was the first Arab country to join the agreement, entitled, “Protecting Children from Cyber Crimes.” In 2015, the UAE hosted the second Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation, held under the theme of “We Protect”.
In recognition of the country’s efforts to protect children from the risks posed by the digital world, the UAE was elected, in June 2017, to lead the “Global Committee to Protect Children on the Internet” during the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Conference in Geneva. In 2018, the UAE mobilised over 450 religious leaders from around the world, as part of the activities of the conference, entitled, “Interfaith Alliance For Safer Communities: Child Dignity in the Digital World,” which drafted a global vision for protecting communities.
Source: Emirates News Agency