Your Excellency Mr. BAN Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ladies & Gentlemen,
The Peace, Mercy and Blessing of Allah Be Upon You
It is my pleasure to convey, on this special occasion today, to Your Excellency and all officials of this inveterate World Organization, my sincerest thanks and appreciation for this gracious and unprecedented gesture towards the people and government of my country Kuwait, and towards me personally. Such a gesture is an indication of the vital role this Organization and its Secretary-General undertake, thus embodying their close attention and profound understanding in a concrete and clear manner, with the numerous fears, concerns and developments facing humanity and challenging the social peace and political security of our world today.
These challenges in their varied forms, have multiplied the need for new ways of addressing them, that are able to face the various natural disasters, that are increasingly threatening humanity, such as poverty, famine and disease. This had led the Organization, in accordance with its Charter; based on its lofty mission and optimum role in the maintenance of international peace and security, to bolster international and regional efforts, adopt policies, devise initiatives, and strengthen capabilities. The world has felt the influential role of the United Nations in delivering unique, effective and quality responses to the numerous crises, resulting from the various natural disasters and their varying tragic consequences. The phenomenon of climate change has in the past few years exacerbated the severity of such consequences, in addition to the increase of conflicts in many countries, often with a militarized character victimizing civilians, mainly women and children, filling the records and statistics of the casualties resulting thereform.
Since gaining its independence and consequent membership in this Organization, the State of Kuwait has followed a steady approach in its foreign policy, based essentially on providing humanitarian assistance to all needy countries, regardless of their geographic location, religious beliefs or ethnic origins, in pursuance of its belief and conviction of the importance of international partnership, as well as the unification and activation of international efforts, aimed at the maintenance and preservation of the foundations of life, that is the human spirit.
These basic principles have been translated into a reality, wherein the State of Kuwait kept pace with the many variables and dealt with the hurdles that resulted from the various challenges, by developing and modernizing the methods of providing assistance. The initiative announced by His Highness, the late Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber Al Sabah, in cancelling interest on soft loans to numerous developing and least developed countries, during the 43rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1988, has become a precedent in international humanitarian work, thereby initiating a quantum leap in the assistance methods of Kuwaiti diplomacy, which exemplified the genuine understanding of humanitarian needs highlighting the humanitarian concept of such loans and assistance, the aim of which is not their recovery and calculating the interest thereon, but rather, to reap the fruits of international multi-lateral humanitarian cooperation and its benefits that surpass all financial benefits.
Kuwaiti charitable associations and peoples’ fundraising committees have set an example in their continued support of many humanitarian projects in Asia and Africa, by individual initiatives that have become - by the blessing of Allah – a shinning example of benevolence characterizing the Kuwaiti people.
Pursuing this approach initiated by the late Amir, the State of Kuwait adopted in 2008, a resolution embodying its keen interest in supporting the humanitarian role of the United Nations, by which it earmarked 10% of its total humanitarian assistance to countries affected by natural or man-made disasters to be channeled to United Nations organizations and specialized agencies active in the humanitarian field. This was followed by official decisions to double the fixed annual voluntary contributions to a number of international agencies and organizations such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This has provided the humanitarian work of the State of Kuwait with wider horizons and more comprehensive dimensions to promote direct cooperation in the various crises, with those international bodies.
In this context, I am pleased to announce before you, doubling our fixed annual voluntary contribution to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to 1 million US dollars.
This honour bestowed upon us, is a tribute to all the people of Kuwait, in appreciation of their longstanding benevolence which, God willing, shall continue. Acts of benevolence and philanthropy are inherent values in the hearts of the Kuwaiti people, as inherited generation after generation from their forefathers, renowned for rushing to help the downtrodden and extending a helping hand to all those in need; even when the Kuwaiti people faced hardships in the past. Their charitable acts and humanitarian initiatives shall remain a prominent quality in their honorable record.
In this respect, we must note the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, as one of the oldest development institutions. This Fund, which was established in 1961, was an expression of the sincere desire of the State of Kuwait, in providing assistance to Arab States and friendly countries, through providing soft loans and technical assistance in support of their efforts to achieve their development.
The gross amount of loans provided by the Fund, during more than half a century reached 17.6 billion US dollars, benefitting 103 countries. This represent the equivalent of 1.2% of Kuwait’s Gross National Income, exceeding the 0.7% of the Gross National Income that the United Nations has determined in 1970, as an indicator of the Official Development Assistance to be provided by the developed countries.
During the past three years, and as a result of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, and in response to the fallout of the humanitarian crisis there, the State of Kuwait hosted in January 2013, and January 2014, the two international donor conferences in support of the humanitarian situation in Syria, wherein the declared pledges amounted to 3.6 billion US dollars, of which the State of Kuwait contributed and paid in full, the amount of 800 million US dollars to United Nations specialized agencies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations involved in humanitarian work.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate to Your Excellency and the officials of this Organization, on your many efforts in this field, the utmost expressions of thanks and gratitude for your achievements that are ingrained in the human conscience.
I also would like to renew the commitment of the State of Kuwait; which has always been, a firm and genuine supporter and an effective member of the United Nations; is still of the same conviction and shall remain so, out of its belief in the noble message of the United Nations in the preservation of international peace and security, the dissemination of the principals of justice and equality, and ensuring a life of dignity and welfare to the peoples of the world.
I thank you once again for honouring us in this special ceremony and with this distinctive gathering.
The Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah, be upon you.