DUBAI – The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Ertharin Cousin delivered a keynote speech today at the 11th Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) on women in disasters.
In her speech, Cousin, who just returned from Central African Republic and saw first-hand the impact of conflict on the lives of women and children, focussed on the plight of women on whom disasters and crises inflict a disproportionate amount of suffering.
“’We will not forget you.’ That’s what I promised the women and children I met during my visit to CAR in the last few days. So I am fulfilling this promise by being a voice at DIHAD for them and the many others in forgotten crises around the world today,” said Cousin.
She said women and children account for more than three-quarters of the people affected by disasters and crises, and it is women who most often bear the crippling consequences — be they physical, psychological, social or economic.
“Addressing gender is not simply a question of equity, it is about increasing the chances of women and girls’ survival in times of crisis,” said Cousin. “Failure to do this seriously jeopardises women’s well-being and safety and that of their families and communities."
Attending the inauguration of the DIHAD conference was HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, United Nations Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of International Humanitarian City; Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development; HE Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouie, speaking on behalf of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the UAE Red Crescent Authority; HE Mr.Ibrahim Bumelha, Humanitarian Advisor of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman, DIHAD, Higher Committee.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.