The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has agreed that foreign aid provided by five major UAE foundations can be reported as Official Development Assistance (ODA) or Other Official Flows (OOF). The OECD reached its decision following discussions on the issue with the UAE Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA).
Commenting on the decision, His Excellency Hazza Mohammed Falah Al Qahtani, OCFA Director General, said: “Under the directives of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi and President of OCFA, we invited the OECD to the UAE to hold a workshop on outlining the criteria and methods for recording ODA. At the same time, we discussed with them the status of the Foundations of the Rulers of the Emirates and whether their foreign aid should be considered as part of the ODA of the UAE.”
Al Qahtani added: “By recognizing these contributions as ODA, the OECD has acknowledged the official status of these foundations. It also means more of the UAE’s foreign aid will be accepted by the OECD as part of the government’s official aid flows, which will help bolster the UAE’s position as an important donor country.”
The Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Humanitarian and Charitable Foundation, Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Foundation, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, Al Maktoum Foundation and Dubai Cares will now be able to record as ODA and OOF the parts of their foreign aid provided by a Ruler’s decision. For the aid to qualify as official, it must be designated for ODA-eligible countries which represent the poorest of the developing countries, as defined by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee.
The OECD, one of the world's largest and most reliable sources of comparable statistics and economic and social data, has also agreed to consider a portion of the foreign aid assistance provided by the UAE Red Crescent Society as official flows, given its status as a federal government entity and because it receives a part of its funding from the UAE government.
Al Qahtani added: “The OECD’s decision supports OCFA’s efforts to establish a national framework for aid reporting that conforms to internationally recognized criteria, while recognizing the specificity of the UAE context.”
As a result of the decision, the Khalifa Foundation’s US$30 million donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Pakistan and its contributions to the Haiti relief effort, for instance, can now be considered part of the UAE’s official flows.
In March, OCFA and OECD held a workshop in Abu Dhabi for UAE humanitarian and development organizations, outlining the criteria and methods for recording ODA. The workshop was part of OCFA’s efforts to improve current reporting of the UAE’s substantial international assistance to help UAE actors avoid duplication and identify gaps in their activities, as well as raise the international profile of the UAE’s work in this sector.
OCFA was set up by UAE Cabinet decree no. 36 for the year 2008 and has been operational since early 2009 to help UAE foreign aid donors improve delivery of humanitarian and development programmes worldwide. With HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, presiding as the office’s President, OCFA is assessing foreign aid needs; providing appropriate training programmes and knowledge transfers; and building and strengthening ties between the UAE and the international aid community by providing multiple platforms that bring international and local aid organizations together.
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