HUMANLY POSSIBLE

UAE, Dubai 2015 | DIPLOMACY | FOCUS: HUMANITARIAN AID

Through its facility offerings, geographic location, and strategy for the future, International Humanitarian City (IHC) aims to continue its trend as a major player internationally for humanitarian aid.

Established in 2003 by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, IHC has already grown to become the world's largest and busiest logistics hub for humanitarian aid with nine UN agencies and nearly 50 NGOs and commercial entities as members. Since its inception, IHC has delivered just under $275 million in aid to countries in need all over the world. The IHC's commitment to excellence in facility offerings, along with its ideal geographical location, make it an extremely donor-friendly international hub for operations. Furthermore, due to its successes and demand going into the future, the IHC is set for future growth and development.

Part of the success of IHC can be contributed to the facilities that it has in place along with its free zone classification. IHC offers a warehousing complex of over 50,000sqm, including specialized cold storage for perishables and medical supplies. To accompany the warehousing, IHC has over 10,000sqm of office space for the housing of UN agencies, major NGOs, and private businesses. Moreover, it eases the burden on member organizations by taking care offering facilities management solutions like maintenance, security, and leasing. It also provides assistance with customs formalities, visas issuance, and other government services required. Importantly, IHC operates as a free zone within Dubai allowing members 100% foreign ownership of their organization, 100% repatriation of capital, profits, and funds, 100% free transfer of funds, 100% exemption from taxes, and 0% import or re-export duties. All in all, with superior facilities along with financial incentives, IHC poses an ideal destination for humanitarian-oriented investment.

Perhaps the defining factor of success to the IHC is its proximity to not only world-class logistics facilities on a local level for inbound shipments, but also its geographic location for outbound shipments. The IHC is strategically located only 18 km from the new Al Maktoum Airport, a major new transport facility located in the heart of Dubai World Central. The Al Maktoum Airport is planned to have six 4,500-meter parallel runways with Dubai World Central having a cargo capacity reaching up to 1.4 million tons per annum upon completion. In addition to the IHC's air connection, the humanitarian hub is also closely linked to sea transport only 21 km away via the Jebel Ali Port, the world's largest man-made port and biggest shipping center between Rotterdam and Singapore. Importantly, Dubai World Central is connected to Jebel Ali Port and Jebal Ali Free Zone via a logistics corridor to form a single custom-bonded free zone environment. On a larger scale, and crucial to Dubai's success as a global trade hub, is the ideal global geographic positioning of Dubai. Through this global centric position, IHC is able to play a key role as a logistical intermediary between donor regions of North America, Europe, East Asia, and their recipient counterparts throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. With this combination of logistical efficiency via both air and sea, along with the ideal location of Dubai on an international level, the IHC will continue to play a pivotal role in the distribution of humanitarian aid internationally.

As instability has spread across the Middle East, including in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, and the continuing demand from the African continent, the expectations for humanitarian assistance are only expected to increase. Along with this increase of demand comes the necessity for building capacity and efficiency in the IHC. In recognition of this, HH Sheikh Mohammed, in cooperation with Shaima Al Zarooni, CEO of IHC, launched the 2015-2021 strategy for IHC. This strategy rests upon four pillars: Connect, Innovate, Lead, and Partner. As an established international leader in humanitarian aid, IHC aims to be a leading organizer and facilitator of humanitarian events, thereby connecting the best humanitarian-oriented minds internationally. In so doing, IHC will host the World Humanitarian Forum every two years in September. As a key component of the Dubai Plan 2021, IHC has targeted being a leader in innovation as a key government entity. The IHC also established a key leadership panel consisting of individuals such as Baroness Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Program. Finally, IHC aims facilitate CSR partnerships by organizing private-sector events and launching the first International Humanitarian Impact Fund with the first donation of just under $275,000 by HH Sheikh Mohammed.