From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Aug 24 2011 - 18:06:04 EDT
On eve of Horn of Africa pledging conference, UN calls for generous
24 August 2011 -
Senior United Nations officials are calling on countries, businesses and
individuals to give generously to support efforts to tackle the food
security crisis gripping the Horn of Africa, warning that the world cannot
"afford to lose momentum" in the fight against famine, disease and
As the continent's leaders prepare to gather in Addis Ababa tomorrow for a
pledging conference hosted by the African Union, Deputy Secretary-General
Asha-Rose Migiro said all segments of society - including governments, the
public, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector - need
to play their part in dealing with the crisis.
"We ask you, we ask everybody to make donations to multilateral efforts,
pooled international funds, so that we can jointly identify where the needs
are greatest and how that money should be spent," Ms. Migiro told UN Radio
ahead of the pledging conference, which she will address. "We also need your
help in getting the access we need to allow us to save lives."
Ms. Migiro noted that the international response to the crisis - which is
affecting Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, but Somalia in particular - is
accelerating, despite restrictions and security concerns in some parts of
"In areas where Western and UN agencies have not been able to gain access,
many Islamic organizations have arrived and are responding to the needs,"
More than 12 million people across the region are estimated to need outside
humanitarian assistance, and a state of famine has been formally declared in
five regions of southern and central Somalia, including the area in and
around the capital, Mogadishu.
Some 3.2 million Somalis are thought to be on the brink of starvation, and
the UN and its aid partners say another billion dollars is needed to pay for
humanitarian operations across the region.
"We cannot surely afford to lose momentum," Ms. Migiro stressed, noting that
famine could spread to other areas of Somalia within the next four to six
Kanayo Nwanze, the President of the UN International Fund for Agricultural
Development (IFAD), issued a <http://www.ifad.org/media/press/2011/57.htm>
statement ahead of the pledging conference in which he emphasized that
Africa itself must play a pre-eminent role in ending the crisis.
"I have said before that Africa should not wait for the international
community to solve its problems," he said. "Africa will conquer hunger when
African governments give Africans the tools and resources they need to feed
themselves. Change - real change - comes from within."
Ms. Migiro, for her part, welcomed the efforts of the AU in staging the
"They have shown that they are ready and willing to come together during a
moment of profound challenge and raise the resources needed to end the
suffering," she said.
Mohamadou Mansour N'Diaye, the chef de cabinet of the
<http://www.unccd.int/> UN Convention to Combat Desertification, described
tomorrow's meeting as a positive step and said that the Horn of Africa's
drylands can prosper, despite the current situation.
"It is not too late to act because we know and have the tools to better
manage the drylands," Mr. N'Diaye said. "The productivity and prosperity in
other dryland parts of the world, such as the North American Great Plains,
the Pampas of Argentina, and the wheat-belts of Russia, Ukraine and
Kazakhstan, should put to rest the myth that the drylands are empty, barren
places worth little."
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