Qatar seeks to combat extremism with $10 billion pledge

Qatar seeks to combat extremism with $10 billion pledge
The Gulf State has pledged $10 billion for overseas humanitarian causes, saying it will help stem extremism across the world.
2 min read
27 May, 2016
Qatar has pledged $10 billion to overseas development projects [

Qatar is pledging $10 billion to humanitarian causes across the world over the next ten years, with half of the sum going towards education programmes to combat extremism and war.

Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani made the announcement at the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey, and said the funds will help create stability in troubled parts of the world.

Poverty, human rights abuses and unemployment are providing "fertile ground for extremist ideas," the minister said.

"Neglecting education means that whole generations would become more vulnerable to human trafficking or falling prey to terrorism," he added.

Probably in mind is Syria, where years of corruption, grave human rights abuses and poverty led to mass protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule in 2011.

When regime repression against demonstrators turned the revolt into an armed insurrection, extremism creeped in from the fringes and now extremist groups are major players in the conflict.

Qatar has been frequently accused of funding jihadi groups and fuelling extremism by critics, which Doha has denied.

The war has been described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, and led to around half of Syria's population fleeing their homes.

Empty pledges

Last September, the world's leading economies – including the Gulf – pledged $1.8 billion to help towards seriously underfunded programmes designed to help Syrian refugees.

A London conference aimed at boosting funding for Syrian refugees saw $12.1 billion pledged on the day by donors.

Neglecting education means that a whole generations would become more vulnerable to human trafficking or falling prey to terrorism
- Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani

But Concern Worldwide said last week that agencies had only received a sixth of the promised funding.

Ninety-eight percent of Saudi Arabia's pledge on the day remains unpaid for.

"Pledges are just words until they are translated into commitments; donors have simply not acted fast enough," Simon Starling, head of advocacy at Concern Worldwide UK told The Guardian

"The statistics indicate there is a critical time-lapse between donors voicing their pledges and turning them into a financial reality. It is Syrians that pay the price of this delay." 

Monday's first World Humanitarian Summit was not without controversy.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon criticised leaders of the world's largest industrial countries for not attending the conference.

"It is disappointing that [some] world leaders could not be here especially those from G7 countries, except Angela Merkel of Germany," Ban said.

"The absence of these leaders does not provide [an] excuse for inaction. They have a unique responsibility to promote peace and stability."