The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General welcomes the joint initiative by the United States and the United Kingdom appealing to the world donor community for a significant increase in emergency funding for Africa. He joins them in their call on behalf of people in acute need in many parts of Africa. The Secretary-General also welcomes the specific pledges of approximately $674 million of additional resources by the United States, and $300 million by the United Kingdom, to respond to humanitarian emergencies in Africa. He encourages other nations to follow with their own contributions.
The Secretary-General hopes that this focus on African needs will be translated into action by the Group of Eight (G-8) at its upcoming Summit. He notes that there are devastating, long-term opportunity costs resulting from our failure to sufficiently fund humanitarian aid programmes, and that those costs are paid by those who can least afford them: impoverished communities ravaged by violence or suffering from the effects of famine or drought. He also notes that emergency aid is in no way a substitute for action, both at country and global level, to ensure that African economies overcome the many obstacles which impede their participation in an expanding world economy. He hopes that, at the forthcoming G-8 summit in Scotland and United Nations summit in New York, world leaders will take decisions to address these issues including a doubling of long-term development assistance, as recommended in his report "In Larger Freedom" and in the draft outcome document circulated by the President of the General Assembly.