On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic and the Hellenic Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Hellenic AID, I would like to take this opportunity to give a warm welcome to the distinguished delegation from World Food Program, and to wish to you all a pleasant and enjoyable stay in Athens.
It is known, hopefully, to all of us that the objective of WFP is at the top of the list of the UN Millennium Development Goals: halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger throughout the world is an extremely commendable aim and all of us should combine our efforts to this end. Thus, the HELLENIC AID contributes to hunger reduction efforts via development assistance programs in developing countries, implemented by Greek NGOs, Ministries, Legal Bodies, Universities or other agencies and participates as a donor country to international donor efforts.
Let me quote the Greek contribution to the process of achieving the 1st Millennium Development Goal.
During the year 2003, with regard to halving, between 1999 and 2015, the number of people who suffer from hunger, the following development cooperation activities were implemented: in Albania and Syria programs running in favour of the protection of public health against animal diseases, contribution to the reduction of animal deaths, improvements in trade methods for meat and dairy products and raising of producers' incomes. Furthermore, in the year 2004, my country in response to UN Flash Appeals concerning natural disasters in Haiti, has contributed with the sum of 50.000 euro and has also offered the sum of 100.000 euros for humanitarian food assistance in Armenia through the kind services of the WFP. Emphasis should also be placed on the unprecedented response to the humanitarian crisis that afflicted SE Asia by the earthquake and Tsunami disasters. In fact, the response of the Greek Civil Society under the coordination of the HELLENIC AID was worthy of every praise. In the framework of Greece's humanitarian assistance the amount of 10.000.000 euro was donated to the UN in order to be distributed through UN specialized agencies, WFP amongst others. More specifically, Greece has donated approximately 2.000.000 euro, half for East Africa (the protracted food program for Somalia) and half for East Asia, through the program "WFP Indian Ocean Tsunami Emergency Operation (Food)".
I should also mention, (although running the risk of appearing to pat my own shoulder), that for the years 2005-2006, Greece has donated another 200.000 $USA to the WFP fund, in demonstration of its appreciation to the work and efforts of the Organization with respect to eradication of hunger.
Also, pointing towards our future cooperation and in response to your appeal, I should like to announce today that Greece's aid to the victims of the recent floods in Georgia, of an amount of 30.000 euros, will be implemented as food aid through the kind offices of the WFP operation in Georgia.
It is well known that the relation between a donor and a recipient country under the new international strategy should not be seen as a simple cooperation relation, but as a "partnership" relation, which promotes sustainable economic and social development into the 21st century. I believe that in order to meet long-term goals, cooperation with partners who wish to work in a responsible way, are open minded and efficient is essential. The aim is not only to encourage the already established partnerships among Greek civil society partners, but to promote new partnerships with international partners. This is the reason Hellenic Aid has organized this meeting today in order to discuss over the possibilities of cooperation between Greek NGOs and WFP.
Greek humanitarian and development NGO's could be divided in two categories, for which Hellenic Aid keeps a Special Record for Registered Greek NGO's:
To purely Greek, which are the most numerous
To those that compose the Greek antennas of wider international organizations (e.g. "Doctors of the World", "Greek Red Cross", "Doctors Without Frontiers", "Actionaid", etc.)
I must also say that a number of Greek development NGOs are still at a rather elementary level and lack the technical know - how and experienced personnel. However, today many Greek NGOs implement significant international development cooperation projects and successfully compete other European NGOs, to attain financial resources from International Organizations. The personnel working for these NGOs, are superbly qualified on the basis of their scientific expertise, language skills, professionalism and international experience.
Greek NGOs' financial resources - like those of the equivalent European NGOs - are being derived
from International Organizations, States, business's grants and private contributions. It is estimated that NGOs depend on International Organizations and financial resources of bilateral official development assistance, by more than 50% of the total disbursements. However, this distribution (which does not deviate from the international average) does not touch all Greek NGOs. Organizations such as the Greek antenna of the "Doctors without Frontiers" and "Action aid Hellas" are mostly dependent on private contributions rather than official financing from Hellenic Aid.
Greece through Hellenic Aid gives increasingly more emphasis in the involvement of Civil Society in development cooperation issues. These efforts have flourished resulting in the establishment of a significant number of competent and relatively experienced NGOs that are able to handle international development issues. Nonetheless, many NGOs must further develop their activities and obtain more field experience abroad and skills to manage official financing.
These are some of the reasons that I believe can provide the forum for discussion in order to enable collaboration and why not a form of "partnership" between WFP and Greek NGOs, profitable to all concerned.
I would like to thank you for your attention and to wish to all of you a constructive and fruitful seminar. I hope that this will be the starting point of a future promising chapter in the development of Greek Civil Society and its cooperation with WFP. - ''