Ambassador Adel Al-Bukaili to the Yemen Times: “The OIC was able to deal with Al-Shabab in Somalia, and I think we can deal with Ansar Al-S
Adel Al-Bukaili, coordinator of the International Humanitarian Committee, a committee formed in April to help Yemen, said humanitarian aid given to Yemen is just basic aid aimed to urgently lighten the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and to keep the country at the subsistence level.
Al-Bukaili, responsible for the Humanitarian Hope (Amal Al-insaniah) Campaign in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah, asserted, in an interview with the Yemen Times, the importance of the government’s role in observing the work of international organizations to evaluate them and to cooperate with them on future strategic projects.
What is the International Humanitarian Committee, and what has it achieved so far?
The committee is composed of six organizations—the U.N. Humanitarian Department, the U.E. Humanitarian Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which I represent as a coordinator of the campaign.
We collected $210 million, which will be spent in six fields such as establishing houses for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), food and water. We dedicated between $8 and $10 million for digging wells in far away areas suffering from drought.
What are the motives behind holding this campaign?
Humanitarian crises aggravated in Yemen due to last year’s political uprising. Many reports indicated that about 11 million Yemenis live below the poverty line. The crises aggravated because of a political impasse, which caused transportation price hikes. If Saudi Arabia hadn’t intervened and provided three million barrels of oil, the situation would have become worse.
What has changed this year in comparison with last year?
The situation today is better in comparison with last year, but there are still one million children who suffer from malnutrition. We are working in leaps and bounds to increase the level of projects, which will bring back money so that it can always be used for the Humanitarian Fund.
What about investing in microfinance?
As for investment, we dedicated about $10 million for the sustainable and vital projects we run. These projects are being implemented by civil society organizations in Yemen, the most important of which are the Islah Association and the Al-Saleh Association. These two associations are appreciated for the humanitarian work they do, but I hope they will avoid being involved in politics.
It is said that people don’t trust these two associations mentioned above.
We haven’t dealt with civil society organizations in Yemen yet. However, through our experience in Somalia, some organizations succeeded while some others failed. I hope the Yemeni civil society organizations with which we are going to work can find new ways of working instead of distributing aid only.
Yemeni civil society organizations need several technical, organizing and moral qualifications to succeed. They must distribute all aid provided without taking any. What is important for us is that these organizations study the situation and give solutions and projects through which we can meet the needs of people and improve Yemen’s economy.
Have you ever thought of opening a coordination office to manage aid delivered to Yemen?
We have signed an agreement with the Ministry of Planning to open an OIC office in Yemen to coordinate with all other organizations. We required the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to give dissemination for all diplomatic missions to facilitate the work of the campaign’s team.
We also requested the Minister of Expatriates to send a letter to Yemeni communities abroad to help us collect money in addition to the money given by donor countries.
How is your relation with official departments in Yemen?
We met President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who told us frankly that we can specify the implementation mechanism as long as we respect the priorities of the government in development projects.
How do you evaluate the work of humanitarian organizations in Yemen?
Some use humanitarian work to serve their interests, and this distorted humanitarian work in Yemen.
Currently, there is a slight improvement in security stability, and this stability will enable people to start looking for something to be able to make money.
However, the humanitarian crisis is obvious in areas that witnessed war during the uprising. Yemen is undergoing gradual stability.
How does the work of OIC in Yemen progress?
So far nothing has been achieved, but the comparative calmness Yemen is witnessing resulted in decreasing the signs of the humanitarian crisis.
The OIC is accepted by all parties, even by extremists in Somalia. The OIC was able to deal with Al-Shabab in Somalia, and I think we can deal with Ansar Al-Sharia in Yemen, too. Therefore, the OIC has never faced obstacles in providing aid.
How can humanitarian aid improve Yemen’s economy?
Currently, we depend on the state in Yemen to specify its economic infrastructure. We soften pressure on the state and the government by providing urgent humanitarian aid.
I assure that observing the work of all international organizations in Yemen, including the OIC, is very important to know the organizations Yemen benefits from in order to deal with them in upcoming projects.
We can’t depend on humanitarian aid because they are basic aid to bridge the gap and help the government establish new projects to eliminate the crisis.