Foreign Minister on supplementing the UN's protective umbrella

Report
from Government of Austria
Published on 07 May 2008 View Original
Vienna, 7 May 2008 - "The global food crisis calls for a response based on solidarity, and Austria is making a further contribution," announced Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today. At the suggestion of the Federal Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Federal Government has pledged 2,790,000 euros for the UN's world food programme.

"We must grasp the dimensions of the crisis. One hundred million people are threatened with death by starvation as a consequence of higher food prices. I have already sent out a first practical signal on behalf of the Foreign Ministry: within the framework of the Development Cooperation programme Austria earmarked 1 million euros for the four countries that are most severely affected: Namibia, Haiti, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. The aid will be implemented through successful NGOs and international partners," stated Plassnik.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched an extraordinary call for help which is also supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The two organisations aim to raise 500 million dollars.

"The UN's protective umbrella must be supplemented by swift measures on the part of individual states. Austria wants to provide even more efficient aid. To counter the crisis three areas are to be covered by means of the funds approved today: food aid in the narrower sense (crisis intervention) within the framework of WFP emergency projects; the financing of agricultural means of production (seeds and fertilisers) under the auspices of FAO projects and the funding of FAO development projects. The current crisis is the biggest challenge for the World Food Programme (WFP) in its 45-year history. WFP would have to abandon its first programmes because they can no longer be financed on account of higher prices," concluded Plassnik.

Contact:

Federal Ministry for European and international Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at