People who are starving are not thinking about other anti-poverty goals, Princess Haya Al Hussein said at the United Nations, calling for cooperation and coordination among the humanitarian community to meet the world’s basic needs, starting with zero hunger.
Princess Haya of Jordan, who had been advocating for poverty eradication efforts and anti-hunger campaigns since long before she was appointed a UN Messenger of Peace in 2007, has called for more effective partnerships noting that the aid community has “too many actors, too much bureaucracy and too little trust.”
Speaking to the UN News Centre during a recent visit to New York, the Princess criticized what she called the “ferocious scramble” by aid providers to get into the media spotlight as they compete for resources and credit.
In the video below, Princess Haya cautions that “there’s no time like the present” to address world hunger and poverty. She refers to the 17 anti-poverty Sustainable Development Goals or (SDGs), adopted by the world’s leaders at the UN last September.
Earlier in the day, Princess Haya addressed the UN Economic and Social Council, where she contextualized world challenges amid “a time of turmoil and transition” stemming from the threat of terrorism, the largest displacement of people since World War II and economic instability.
She lashed out at “the forces of evil” that include violent extremists, while the “force of true humanity remain disorganized and fragmented.”
“How can we in the civilized world not recognize by now that humanitarian and development aid is the most effective way to prevent and fight terrorism and radicalism,” asked Princess Haya. “The best way to win this war is to give people in need hope and dignity.”
In her interview with the UN News Centre , Princess Haya called the United Nations and the UN Charter a “rallying point” which can help to unite diverse actors to overcome the challenges faced by the Arab communities and around the world.
Princess Haya is married to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has been a top donor to the humanitarian aid, according to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In a personal story, Her Royal Highness recalled meeting a South Sudanese woman who had walked for nearly two weeks with a child on her back to seek shelter in a crowded camp in Ethiopia.
“I was like you,’ she told me,” Princess Haya said, describing a woman who had once had a house, a husband, and a sense of dignity and pride which was overshadowed by squatting amongst hundreds of other women waiting for a bucket of food.
Referring to the woman as a “mirror” for society, Princess Haya urged the international community to work together for her.
“She also deserves a life with dignity and the ability to take care of her family. And without that for her, and people like her, our existence will be just as fragile as theirs,” the UN Messenger of Peace noted.
Recalling the woman and many others whose stories she had shared in, Princess Haya stressed that the real champions are not high-level advocates like her, but the people being affected. Her video clip is below.