KUWAIT: Kuwait celebrates the International Day of Peace today, under the theme “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” Kuwait has exerted huge efforts to achieve international peace and provide humanitarian aid for those in need, mainly after His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah became the leader of Kuwait in 2006. The UN’s General Assembly has celebrated the peace day for the first time in 1982, declaring September 21st as a date of ceasing fire and stopping violence.
Since becoming a UN member in 1963, Kuwait has been supporting the organization’s peace efforts around the world and play a vital role in resolving dispute between Arab countries. Kuwait hosted many summits and conferences aiming to end conflicts in the Arab World, mainly that between Egypt and Yemen during the Nasserism era. It also resolved the dispute between South and North Yemen on joint borders in 1972, which ended in the signing of a peace agreement after a visit of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, who was then the Foreign Minister of Kuwait.
Moreover, the country played an effective role in ending disputes between Jordan and Palestine in 1970, while also being a mediator in resolving issues between other Arab states by the end of the 60s. Another prominent achievement is His Highness’ efforts when he headed talks that led to the signing of the Taif Agreement, bringing an end to the civil war in Lebanon in 1989. In the same context, Kuwait also hosted the UN-sponsored Yemeni peace talks last April to end the conflict in the country and achieve peace and security.
Meanwhile, the country is well known for its humanitarian work around the world, as it has provided several loans to Arab, African and Asian states even during the Iraqi Invasion in 1990. As part of its efforts to aid those in need, Kuwait announced establishing the Goodwill Fund with a $100 million to face the world food crisis, during the first Arab Economic Summit it hosted in 2009. The country also hosted three donors conferences to improve humanitarian conditions in Syria, the first was in 2013 where Kuwait pledged $300 millions for Syrians and collected $4.4 billions as international donations.
Kuwait also pledged $500 million during the second conference in 2014, collecting $2.4 million from international donations and finally pledging another $500 million in the third event held in 2015, and collecting $3.8 billion from participating countries. In recognition of Kuwait’s efforts, the UN granted His Highness the Amir the “Humanitarian Leader” title and Kuwait a “Humanitarian Center” in 2014. Despite being a developing country, Kuwait is continuously providing loans and aid for other developing and less developed countries to support development projects. The rate of developmental aid granted by Kuwait exceeded 1.3 percent of the total GDP, which is above the international percentage agreed upon for aid.
According to a report released by a British organization for international development initiatives in 2014, Kuwait came in first place among Gulf states in providing humanitarian aid, and it was in the 14th place among the 20 most providing countries in the world, as the country’s aid reached $327 million. Kuwait depends on four main bodies in delivering humanitarian aid, including the Ministry of Finance, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAAED), Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) and Zakat House. KFAAED has provided about KD 2.4 billion of loans between 1990 to 2014 for countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The fund’s aid and grants reached nearly KD 74 million in the same time period.
In the same context, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a report that Kuwait’s Ministry of Finance has provided about KD three billion for Arab countries between 1990 and 2014. It also gave about KD 6.7 billion for non-Arab countries. Speaking to KUNA yesterday, KRCS’ Deputy Chairman Anwar Al-Hasawi said the society provided aid to over 67 countries since it was established in 1966. The aid included building schools, hospitals, reconstructing damaged houses and sending food and medicines.- KUNA