Saif bin Zayed Launches Strategic Plan for GCC Countries and Jordan Search and Rescue Teams

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates-Tuesday 10 January 2017 [ AETOS Wire ]

Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, launched the strategic plan for search and rescue teams for GCC countries and Jordan during a ceremony held on Tuesday at the Saint Regis Hotel on Abu Dhabi Corniche.

HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior presented Community Service medals for members of the GCC countries and Jordan search and rescue teams’ development committee, in recognition of their outstanding heroic and humanitarian deeds. His Highness also honored high ranking guests from GCC countries and Jordan.

The ceremony was attended by Lt. General Saif Abdullah Al Sha’far, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior; Lt. General Khaled Rakan Al Mekrad, Director General of the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD); Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Director General of Central Operations at the Ministry of Interior; Major General Jassem Al Marzouqi, Civil Defense General Commander-in-chief and Major General Abdul Aziz Maktoum Al Shareefi, Director General of Protective Security in the Ministry of Interior. Also present were Major General Salem Al Shamesi, Director General of Finance and Support Services in the Ministry of Interior; a number of high ranking officers from the Ministry of Interior and a number of officers and guest officials from the GCC countries.

In his speech on the occasion, Lt. Colonel Mohamad Abdul Jalil Al Ansari, Head of the Search and Rescue Teams Development Committee in GCC countries and Jordan, tackled the UAE’s keenness and tremendous support to all efforts exerted to achieve a strategic vision; notably to ensure that search and rescue teams become the best and most efficient in the world. He said: ‘This is achieved by reinforcing the skills and competencies of the teams and by exchanging information and mutual training in coordination with member states in a bid to enhance the speed of response and increase the level of international coordination.”

He explained that the significant humanitarian tasks carried out by the search and rescue teams are highly appreciated by the United Nations, the UAE, GCC countries, Jordan, the Arab countries and world countries, which praise their leading and professional role in extending help and assistance to disaster victims.

Lt. Colonel Al Ansari stressed the importance of the strategic development plan adopted by countries of the region in this humanitarian field. He called upon search and rescue teams in GCC countries and Jordan to embrace the spirit of teamwork to achieve the coveted aspirations and objectives,  as per international standards. He also called for promoting practical training activities and programs that are consistent with the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) requirements and with the regional and international response plan.

Lt. Colonel Al Ansari commended this pioneering achievement and expressed his hope to see search and rescue teams pursue their commitment to the various laws and regulations that organize the work of search and rescue teams on the international level. He also called upon these teams to keep up with developments in their fields of work, to spread the culture of crises management and to enhance performance to according to international professionalism standards in the field of search and rescue.

Executive Office

Lt. Colonel Al Ansari announced that an executive office will be established to follow up on the implementation of the strategic plan, and will be the first office of its kind in the Arab region. He also noted that a set of new initiatives will be implemented by members in GCC countries and Jordan, to guarantee the establishment and development of search and rescue teams on the practical, operational, administrative and human levels.

He assured that the strategic plan represents the right path for capacity building in response to natural disasters around the world, according to the highest international standards and in line with international conventions and obligations with the United Nations.

Lt. Colonel Al Ansari praised the unrelenting coordination and cooperation between GCC and Jordan’s search and rescue teams. He stressed the Ministry of Interior’s keenness to promote humanitarian efforts in the GCC countries and Jordan and said: “The search and rescue process is not merely a security effort; it is a humanitarian process that aims at providing assistance and support to people in need all over the world without discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin or religion.”

“People of the region enjoy tranquility and peace of mind, thanks to the high operational efficiency and readiness of search and rescue teams in GCC countries and Jordan in performing their humanitarian and rescue duties and facing challenges professionally,” he continued.

The ceremony began with recitations from the Hoy Quran. Lt. Colonel Dr. Hamad Ahmad Al Darmaki, Secretary General of the Search and Rescue Teams’ Development Committee, spoke about the mission, goals and values of the GCC countries and Jordan’s search and rescue teams. Sergeant Awad Nasser Al Harithi from the Directorate General of Civil Defense in Abu Dhabi recited verses of a Nabatean poem titled “Sword of Truth”, which praised the efforts of Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Interior in promoting police and security work according to the best developed standards.

Comprehensive System

Brigadier Dr. Hamoud Suleiman Al Faraj, Director General of Civil Protection and General Supervisor of the Saudi Search and Rescue team, praised the valuable role carried out by the GCC countries and Jordan’s search and rescue teams’ Development Committee in establishing a single comprehensive system between member states. This includes providing support and backup against disasters; enhancing mutual coordination, cooperation and specialized training; providing teams with vehicles and equipment; supporting countries’ quest to achieve international classification and endeavoring to include Arab countries; all of which would enhance concerted efforts and the exchange of mutual expertise.

Brigadier Al Faraj praised the coordination and cooperation between GCC countries on all levels, especially mutual training related to search and rescue, by activating the strategic plan for search and rescue teams in GCC countries and Jordan.

He assured that search and rescue teams in GCC countries and Jordan are looking forward to prospecting the future in the upcoming period so as to achieve several mutual goals, notably helping unclassified teams to obtain international classification and reinforce their resources through high level training and cooperate in the implementation of relevant initiatives. In conclusion, Brigadier Al Faraj valued the UAE’s efforts to support the development committee, which constitutes a motivation to double the efforts to achieve the goals sought after by the region’s countries in the field of search and rescue.

New Search and Rescue Team in Bahrain

Colonel Mohamad Ahmad Al Ghadeer, Acting Director of Civil Defense in Bahrain, said that the Bahraini Ministry of Interior has started to establish a search and rescue team, in line with the mutual coordination and cooperation between countries of the region. He emphasized that the team will benefit from the strategic plan for GCC countries and Jordan search and rescue teams and will implement mutual initiatives that would enhance its efforts to achieve international classification.

Adding further, he said: “The Ministry of Interior of Bahrain welcomes and widely supports the launch of the strategic plan for search and rescue teams and looks forward to achieve the goals and aspirations of the region’s countries. These goals include enhancing mutual coordination and cooperation, executing mutual training exercises that enhance the exchange of expertise and participating with member states in international search and rescue efforts.”

In conclusion, Colonel Al Ghadeer said that the adopted strategic plan will yield several beneficial outcomes, notably prospecting the future, developing resources and reinforce efforts in the field of search and rescue. He also pointed out to the importance of working to implement a clear strategy when facing unexpected challenges by focusing on the required equipment and carrying out mutual training exercises.

Developmental Efforts

 Major Ayman Mohamad Al Mofreh, Search and Rescue Team Liaison Officer from the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate, praised the launch of the Strategic Plan for GCC countries and Jordan’s search and rescue teams, and its impact on future development efforts. He noted that the Kuwaiti Search and Rescue team will focus on enhancing its field capacities in the upcoming phase by means of the training exercises adopted by the GCC countries and Jordan Search and Rescue Teams’ development committee, providing equipment and vehicles and implementing plans that are set by international organizations while facing disasters around the world.

Major Al Mofreh pointed out that launching the Strategic Plan for Search and Rescue teams of GCC countries and Jordan has contributed significantly to motivating teams to work according to the highest standards of excellence in humanitarian and relief work, as well as to enhance safety and security throughout the region and protect lives and gains. He also praised coordination and cooperation in the exchange of expertise and resources among team members, which contributed to developing efforts and preparing well-thought plans to face emergency situations in a professional manner.

Adding further, Major Al Mofreh said: “Search and Rescue teams’ work requires advanced distinct skills and expertise; and this is what we saw on the ground in terms of cooperation in the implementation of joint exercises, visits and meetings.” Moreover, he explained that the Kuwaiti search and rescue team, still in the training phase, will benefit from the significant and unified capacities of search and rescue teams to develop its own capacities in international participation.

Joint Initiatives

 Major Abdullah Eid Al Mohannadi, Commander of the International Qatari Search and Rescue Team "Lekhwiya Force", stressed the importance of the strategic plan to enhance cooperation and coordination amongst member states, in search and rescue areas. He indicated that member states are working on processing and implementing joint initiatives, in a bid to boost preparedness and response for emergencies or facing disasters with extreme professionalism.

“The wise leaderships of the region’s countries highly support the work carried out by the GCC countries and Jordan search and rescue teams’ development committee. This is reflected in the promotion of development efforts and capacities to ensure efficient response and exchange of experiences and information,” he added.

Major Al Mohannadi praised the valuable expertise of the UAE Search and Rescue team, the first team to obtain the United Nations classification. He explained that member states of the GCC countries and Jordan search and rescue teams support the significant efforts exerted by the development committee and the valuable role played by the UAE in promoting teams’ development efforts, and sharing its expertise and experiences to lead the committee’s work. Major Al Mohannadi also noted that following the launch of the Strategic Plan, the International Qatari Search and Rescue Team looks forward to the implementation of several joint exercises, which would contribute to achieving the aspirations of leaders of all the countries’ region to raise the skills of teams to advanced international levels.

Activating Initiatives

 Major Hashim Mohammed Obeidat, Commander of the International Jordanian Search and Rescue Team, said that search and rescue teams are looking forward to activate and implement the relevant initiatives, and enrolling further teams from Arab States, in a bid to turn this group into the pillar for Arab cooperation in the field of search and rescue.

He commended the coordination and cooperation among member states’ search and rescue teams, which share a common language and a single culture that facilitates their communication and response process in addressing major accidents. He indicated that the teams endeavor to coordinate in the collection of information and sharing it amongst them through direct communication; as they pass it on to their commanders, thus saving time and effort on decision-makers. This would also reflect on the bilateral cooperation between the UAE and Jordan for the exchange of expertise, training exercises, and bilateral agreements in order to facilitate work procedures, notably transit and customs clearance agreements. This would also have a moral effect, by strengthening relations between the two parties through joint coordination to achieve the goals of the working team (1 + 6).


Team leaders: This accolade is a medal of honor

Search and Rescue Teams of GCC countries and Jordan lauded the humanitarian and civilized gesture of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior who honored them the Community Service medal. They noted that this accolade represents a medal of honor and a great moral incentive, which coincides with the declaration of 2017 as the “Year of Giving” by the UAE senior leadership.

Team leaders stressed that the accolade lays a huge responsibility on the team to achieve the aspirations and goals of GCC Interior Ministers. These include developing the teams development committee , strengthening coordination and cooperation in prospecting the future, activating the strategic plan initiatives after years of efforts to make this cultural  achievement of dealing with natural disasters, according to a unified vision and professional field expertise to perform tasks according to the highest advanced levels.

GCC countries and Jordan’s Search and Rescue Teams Efforts

8 initiatives were prepared and responsibilities were identified as follows:

Develop a media identity for search and rescue teams; develop a communication mechanism amongst search and rescue teams; establish an appropriate mechanism to facilitate movement of teams and equipment during disasters amongst member states; develop a mechanism to attract, recruit and transport staff to work within search and rescue teams; build and develop training facilities and fields, in line with INSARAG international standards in a bid to achieve the desired goals; activate  international conventions related to search and rescue operations; develop a general framework for the organization of joint exercises amongst member states; and prepare  a comprehensive training plan, in line with INSARAG Guidelines and methodology guide.


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The Arabic-language text of this announcement is the official, authoritative version. Translations are provided as an accommodation only, and should be cross-referenced with the Arabic-language text, which is the only version of the text intended to have legal effect.




The UAE Minister of Interior's General Secretariat, Tactical Affairs and Security Media Department 

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