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Tree of Hope is on display in OFIDs headquarters at Palais

Deutschmeister. The image is the result of a collaboration the

Child of Play Initiative with 350 children at the Zaatari refugee

camp in Jordan. The initiative promotes integration of youth

through artistic and cultural initiatives. In partnership, OFID has

launched the “Equal Dreams” campaign to highlight the current

refugee crisis from a child’s perspective, with the aim of

promoting the equality of all children’s dreams.

Celebrating 40 years –

OFID dedicates its

anniversary to refugees

OFID, an Austrian-based Development Finance Institution

dedicates its 40th anniversary to the plight of refugees. In particular,

the organization will escalate support within its host country

through further engagement with local partners and NGOs.

This year the OPEC Fund for International Development

(OFID) commemorates four decades

of dedicated efforts toward poverty eradication.

In 1976, OFID was established by OPEC

Member States in a spirit of South-South solidarity

to serve as a collective channel of aid to fellow—but

less fortunate—developing nations.

Now in its fortieth year, OFID looks back at its

dynamic transformation from a temporary financial

facility to a driver of the global development agenda.

Worldwide, over 1.2 billion people continue to

live without an adequate energy supply. OFID was

one of the first to recognize the importance of energy

as a crucial link for achieving sustainable development.

The institution has been at the forefront of efforts

to eradicate energy poverty, both at an advocacy

and an operational level.

It was in 2007, during the third OPEC Summit in

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that heads of OPEC Member

States called on their aid institutions to tackle the issue

of energy poverty. The subsequent Riyadh Declaration

propelled into motion OFID’s Energy for the

Poor Initiative (EPI). Member States underlined

their commitment to the initiative with a US$1bn

revolving fund announced in 2012 at the Rio+20


Last year marked a particularly important milestone

for OFID. Following years of hard-fought advocacy,

it was able to witness the inclusion of energy


poverty eradication in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable

Development. After being overlooked in the Millennium

Development Goals, energy was included

in the new Agenda as a standalone goal—Sustainable

Development Goal 7—devoted to ensuring affordable,

accessible, reliable, and sustainable modern energy

as a reality for all.

OFID’s relationship with its host country Austria

has matured over the years. Vienna, with its wealth

of like-minded international organizations, has served

as an inspiring backdrop for the execution of

OFID’s mandate. Platforms such as the Vienna Energy

Club and the Vienna Energy Forum have helped

drive OFID’s EPI. Moreover, Austria has become a

vital development partner for the institution, which

has established longstanding partnerships with the

Austrian Development Agency, as well as numerous

Austrian NGOs including Hilfswerk Austria and

SOS Kindersdorf—recipient of OFID’s Annual

Award in 2007.

The year of refugees

As OFID celebrates forty years in the city it calls

home, it has dedicated this important milestone to

the countless numbers of refugees forced to leave

their own homes. This dedication is intended as a

mark of solidarity between the organization and the

millions of people in vital need of aid and support.

It is important as a development institution to react

to pressing global needs. “OFID has chosen to

dedicate this important anniversary to the plight of

refugees in order to raise awareness of a global humanitarian

crisis which is a responsibility for us all to

end,” stated Suleiman J Al-Herbish, Director-General

of OFID.

OFID’s response to the refugee crisis has been dynamic.

As well as offering assistance in the form of

financial aid, OFID is launching a volunteer engagement

program, which will enable staff members to

take on a more personal role in the crisis.

Vienna has opened its arms and welcomed hundreds

fleeing conflict. In dedicating its anniversary to

the “Year of Refugees,” OFID is also extending its solidarity

to Austria to help ease the burden the country


Last year—at the height of the crisis in Europe,

OFID supported the Vienna-based NGO International

Humanitarian Relief (IHR). Since 2011, IHR has

supported affected Syrian populations, by providing

shelter and protection to orphaned children, as well as

essential supplies and food aid to displaced families.

OFID’s program of engagement will include advocacy

as well as concrete support at the local level.

One of the first activities of the program was the establishment

of a communication center offering internet

services for refugees torn apart from their families.

OFID has donated laptops to the local NGO

Wieder Wohnen, which is supporting asylum-seeking

families with primary care.

One of the major challenges refugees face is that

of communication and integration in the host country.

Therefore, OFID will be supporting refugees to

overcome language barriers through translation services.

Moreover, OFID will continue to encourage

integration and raise funds through creativity.

In May, OFID will host a charity art exhibition at

its headquarters—the historic Palais Deutschmeister—in

coordination with the Austrian Red Cross.

The funds raised will focus on the integration of refugees,

particularly children, and include support in

improving German language skills and strengthening

the school performance of the children in a

multicultural environment.

Since its inception, OFID has supported refugees

through its grants facility. OFID has had longstanding

cooperation with NGOs that provide assistance

including UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian

Refugees in the Near East, and the United Nations

High Commissioner for Refugees.


The OPEC Fund for International

Development (OFID) is the

development finance institution

established by the Member States of

OPEC in 1976 as a collective channel

of aid to the developing countries.

OFID works in cooperation with

developing country partners and the

international donor community to

stimulate economic growth and

alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged

regions of the world. It does this by

providing financing to build essential

infrastructure that meets basic

needs—such as food, energy, clean

water and sanitation, healthcare and

education—and working to promote

productivity, competitiveness and

trade. OFID employs 195 staff

representing 32 different nationalities,

of which 51 percent are women.

The OPEC Fund for International

Development (OFID)

Parkring 8

A-1010 Vienna

Phone: +43-1-51564

Fax: +43-1-513 92 38



OFID Director-General

Suleiman J. Al-Herbish

38 Cercle Diplomatique 1/2016

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