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Press Release 00/65

FAO DIRECTOR-GENERAL AND ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LAUNCH $2 BILLION HUMANITARIAN APPEAL FOR 35 MILLION PEOPLE


Rome, 29 November - Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini and Dr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), today jointly launched the annual UN consolidated humanitarian appeal, seeking donations of some $2 billion to help 35 million people in 19 countries.

Dr Diouf told a meeting of the diplomatic corps in Rome: "Each Appeal is designed to decrease vulnerability, restore stability and link relief with sustainable development, and is structured to mitigate the consequences of crises and prevent their re-occurrence."

The UN Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) aims to address the needs of people suffering from natural disasters or complex emergencies in a coherent manner, bringing together proposals from all the UN agencies involved in humanitarian relief work. For the first time this year, the Appeals are being launched simultaneously in a number of donor capitals.

The countries and regions targeted for 2001 are: Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Great Lakes Region, Maluku (Indonesia), Northern Caucasus (Russian Federation), Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Southeastern Europe, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda and West Africa.

The theme linking this year's Appeals is Women and War, and Dr Diouf told his audience: "Whether as victims of physical abuse or of the social structures that aggravate their situation, women bear a disproportionate share of the suffering in conflict situations, from rape and displacement to the denial of the right to food and health care."

He continued: "While this year's Appeals will cover the practical needs of women, such as protection, food and health services, many of the project proposals in the Appeals seek to enhance the participatory role of women, empowering them to move from victim to leader. Women must be part of the planning and decision-making process of humanitarian assistance programmes."

Dr Diouf noted that very often the response to appeals for humanitarian assistance depended on the amount of media coverage of the particular crisis and when emergencies dragged on for many years, news coverage diminished. "Given our insatiable appetite for the quick news bite and the breaking headline, the media coverage of some of these crises may give the impression that they are no longer newsworthy. To the millions of the war-weary and the displaced, the hungry and the poor in these countries, there is nothing more immediate and newsworthy than their day-to-day survival."

Dr Diouf also appealed to the international community to help protect aid workers, noting the recent murders of FAO staff in Baghdad and refugee protection officers in Timor. "Together, we must put an end to the brutal irony of aid workers losing their lives in order to save the lives of others," he said.

He concluded: "Let this year's Appeals ring with the voices of the 35 million men, women and children whose needs must urgently be addressed. Together, we can ensure that their cries for support are heard today so that they may live a dignified life tomorrow."

The Appeals launch in Rome focused in particular on the needs of three countries: Somalia, Tajikistan and Angola. UN humanitarian coordinators from the three countries attended the launch to give details of the particular problems each faces.

The appeal for Angola seeks donations of $225.8 million in areas such as food security, health and nutrition, resettlement and removal of landmines. The priority for the country in 2001 is emergency relief and emergency recovery work, while laying the groundwork for transition and development.

In the case of Somalia, the appeal totals some $101.5 million, with a special emphasis on governance and development, mine awareness and the return of Somali nationals with relevant qualifications. Food security and health and nutrition also figure high up on the list of proposed projects.

For Tajikistan, the UN agencies are appealing for some $82 million, the vast majority of which is for food security projects, including the provision of emergency relief to the most vulnerable drought-affected population.

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For further information please contact:

Media Office, FAO, Rome
(++ 39) 06 5705 2232
e-mail: media-office@fao.org

Donato Kiniger-Passigli
OCHA, Geneva
Tel: 0041 22 91 72 653
Mobile : 0041 79 477 0844

Full details of the Appeals can be found on the Internet at: http://www.reliefweb.int and further information is also available of the FAO website: http://www.fao.org


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