Davos, Switzerland

22 January 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at the World Food Programme Hunger Hero Award Ceremony

Ladies and gentlemen, as I am standing here, one of my missions is to honour our distinguished heroine, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Al Hussein.

We have been working [together] very closely. As you know, I have appointed her in 2007 as Messenger of Peace. There are not many Messengers of Peace - this has been what my distinguished predecessor Kofi Annan has established and I have been following. [My] first year, I appointed her as Messenger of Peace.

Since then, I think that I made a good choice.

When we honour somebody, we cannot go without honouring Her Royal Princess Princess Haya.

Your Royal Highness, the United Nations is honored to present you with the World Food Programme's Hunger Hero Award for your extraordinary contributions to our fight against hunger and malnutrition.

Her Royal Highness created the first food assistance NGO in the Middle East, in Jordan.  She expanded it so every Jordanian family received a generous monthly ration. 

As UN Messenger of Peace, Princess Haya shines a bright spotlight on the Millennium Development Goals, especially our hunger target. 

She has supported United Nations operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Gaza and different parts of Africa. She has raised money and awareness, and she has travelled to Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States to act and advocate.

I am especially grateful to Princess Haya for her solidarity in 2009 when terrorists attacked the UN mission in Afghanistan. At that time, many UN staff and security officers were killed. We were in a very difficult situation at that time.  We had to evacuate some staff. At that time, she never hesitated and she immediately reached out.  And her husband, [Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum,] currently the ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates - he immediately took action. He helped bring our staff to Dubai where they got medical care and offices to continue their work.

Princess Haya has also done remarkable work as Chairperson at the International Humanitarian City, which her husband created.  It now serves 10 UN agencies and more than 40 NGOs, bilateral donors and private companies.

But Princess Haya does more than provide emergency supplies through the City. 

When Haiti’s devastating earthquake hit in 2010, she personally flew in and delivered food and water purifiers to many people who were affected – and she provided a mobile office for the country’s President.  [Former] President [Rene] Preval's office was shattered, [it had] just collapsed. He didn't have any place.

As we speak, the International Humanitarian City in Dubai is supporting responses in the Syria region, Ebola-affected countries and beyond. I myself went to visit this International Humanitarian City, with His Highness Sheikh Maktoum, and I as very much impressed. It is located by the seaside, and, according to him, within seven minutes of when an order is given all of this cargo, humanitarian, will be onboard an airplane. He even built an airstrip there.

Princess Haya, we are profoundly grateful for all that you have been doing to feed the hungry, assist the most vulnerable children, women, and care for the world's refugees. 

The work of Your Royal Highness epitomizes the spirit of partnership the world needs. 

You once pointed out that our world is morally bankrupt because, “We can spend over a trillion dollars for armaments as we fight over land, ideology and religion and, yet, we let 300 million children starve.”

I am very moved by your words – and even more inspired by your intelligence, your courage and your resolve to change our world.

Your Royal Highness, it is our greatest honour and privilege to present to Your Royal Highness this Hunger Hero Award.

Thank you very much and congratulations.