Qatar will give US$10 billion (QR36.4 billion) to humanitarian and development programs across the world in the coming decade, its foreign minister has said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani made the announcement on the final day of the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey.
Speaking at the summit, Al Thani said almost half the funds would be ear-marked for education initiatives to help curb the spread of extremism, violence and “loss of hope,” QNA reported.
“Neglecting education means that a whole generations would become more vulnerable to human trafficking or falling prey to terrorism.”
While the minister did not give a more detailed breakdown of how the money would be spent, he said all countries need to respond to international crises not just through aid relief but also common political action, which will help bring stability.
He cited poverty, unemployment, discrimination, human rights violations and corruption as providing a “fertile ground for extremist ideas,” adding that international governments should intervene to establish what he called independent and sustainable solutions.
Qatar’s $10 billion pledge is approximately the same amount Turkey has spent hosting around 3 million Syrian refugees since the crisis began in 2011, Turkish news agency Andolu reported.
Between 2011 and 2015, Qatar spent $3.6 billion (QR13.2 billion) on foreign aid in 100 countries, according to a document published by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to highlight its past humanitarian efforts.
This ranges from providing emergency aid to disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal, to diplomatic mediation in Sudan’s Darfur region, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya, the foreign ministry said.
During the two-day summit in Istanbul, other countries also committed funds for humanitarian efforts.
The UAE’s minister of state Dr. Maytha Al Shamsi said the Emirate would commit 15 percent of its budget to humanitarian work over the next four years.
“By 2020, we will double our contributions to humanitarian actions. We are committed to making this summit a turning point in humanitarian action,” state news agency WAM quoted Al Shamsi as saying yesterday.
The Istanbul summit came just days after Qatar hosted key world leaders for the annual Doha Forum, where UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for Qatar’s “continuing involvement and leadership” in mediating international disputes.