The Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and UNESCO signed a new agreement this week to supplement the financing of UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) with US$2 million.
“More than ever, we need to respond quickly and efficiently to assess, secure and safeguard threatened heritage, said UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay “The Heritage Emergency Fund is a key tool for doing this and I see this renewed contribution by QFFD as a call to the international community to join forces with UNESCO in this regard.”
H.E. Khalifa Bin Jassim Al Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar Fund for Development, joined Audrey Azoulay, at the signing ceremony, which took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. This latest installment of US $2 million follows an earlier QFFD contribution of an equal amount, as part of a pledge Qatar made at the 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha in June 2014. On that occasion, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister, committed a total of US $10 million to support and strengthen UNESCO's ability to preserve cultural and natural heritage in areas that may be vulnerable to disasters or may be affected by armed conflict.
“The initial contribution by the Qatar Fund for Development towards the Heritage Emergency Fund and the continued funding of this instrument reaffirms Qatar's commitment to protecting and preserving the heritage of the world. We hope this donation will act as a catalyst that will trigger further contributions by other donors,” affirmed H.E. Khalifa Bin Jassim Al Kuwari.
UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund is a multi-donor fund established in 2015 as a pooled, non-earmarked funding mechanism that gives UNESCO flexibility to respond quickly and effectively to crises to ensure safeguarding of cultural heritage.
To date, it has been used for activities related to the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the earthquakes in Ecuador, Myanmar, Nepal and Iran, the hurricanes Matthew in Haiti and Irma in the Caribbean, as well as the floods caused by El Nino in Peru. Activities implemented range from rapid damage assessment and urgent safeguarding interventions to capacity building of professionals and the development of innovative partnerships.
Other donors that have joined the initiative include Norway, Canada, the Principality of Monaco, the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Republic of Estonia, the Slovak Republic, the Principality of Andorra, ANA Holdings Inc. and individual donors.