Rome: Participating as a key guest speaker at the meeting of the second regular session of the executive board of the World Food Programme in Rome, Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the supervisor-general of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, extended the kingdom's commitment to the UN's humanitarian works, particularly to providing food.
Al-Rabeeah asserted how strong the partnership between Saudi Arabia and the World Food Programme spans over 45 years, from the outset the Kingdom has not failed to provide the commitment it had promised the UN.
The cooperation based on mutual dedication to providing urgent and comprehensive assistance, particularly food aid, the partnership could provide communities and populations facing severe food shortages due to crises such as natural disasters, conflicts, and internal and cross-border migration, he said.
Up to this year, the centre has contributed $1.23 billion to organizations for food assistance programs in 24 countries. In Yemen, 27 programs have been implemented with the organization at a cost of $1.16 billion.
Dr. Al-Rabeeah said: "In 2014, the Kingdom contributed more than $200 million to provide food for displaced families in Iraq, as well as refugees from Syria, South Sudan and Somalia. The Kingdom continued its role in supporting the organization through providing, between 2005 and 2021, an estimated $1.9 billion to support 124 projects in the food and food security sector", the Arab News reported quoting Al-Rabeeah as said at the meeting.
"In addition, the Kingdom's annual 'Gift of Dates' project has provided 4,500 tons of Saudi-grown dates to be distributed through the organization to provide nutritional assistance and support for communities in need in a number of countries," Dr Al-Rabeeah added.
He congratulated the organization for being awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, stating that this prize is very well-deserved and reflects the world community's understanding of the vital role being played by the organization in alleviating the suffering of people around the world.
Referring to the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the organisation, Dr Al-Rabeeah said that considering the role of the organisation is playing to alleviate the suffering of people around the world, the award has landed in the most deserved hands.
The secretary-general said that the partnership between the centre and the World Food Programme began in the wake of the 1973 economic crisis. The Kingdom provided $50 million to the organization between 1975 and 1976 to support food aid projects for those affected by the crisis.