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IP/01/1663

Brussels, 26 November 2001

European Commission and Belgian Government join United Nations in launching humanitarian appeals for 2002  Joint Press Statement from The United Nations, the European Commission and the Belgian Government

The United Nations, the European Commission and the Belgian Government have joined forces to launch the UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeals for 2002. At a presentation in Brussels on Tuesday, appeals for the Great Lakes Region, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South-Eastern Europe were presented by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, European Commissioner for Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid Poul Nielson, and the Belgian State Secretary for Development Co-operation Eddy Boutmans.

The Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal is launched by 25 UN organisations and partners as a joint effort to address in a coherent and efficient manner the needs of civilians who suffer the horrifying consequences of war and conflict.

The appeals for 2002 call upon the international community to provide 2.5 billion US dollars in assistance to sustain the lives of more than 33 million people directly affected by humanitarian crises around the world. The joint launch in Brussels is part of the ongoing process of building an effective partnership between the United Nations and the European Community.

The theme for the 2002 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal is "Reaching the vulnerable". In conflicts around the world, humanitarian aid is blocked from reaching millions of people in desperate need of help. Access to civilians is often denied to humanitarian workers, who are taking risks to deliver aid at all costs.

The Consolidated Appeals launched in Brussels focus on Southeastern Europe and the Great Lakes Region:

  • Eight years after the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the Great Lakes Region still counts more than one million refugees and three million people displaced within their own country. There is ongoing violence in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The CAP seeks to meet the need of the affected vulnerable groups and to encourage respect for human rights in the region. The appeal in Burundi has a special focus on promoting the peace process, whereas the appeal for the DRC emphasises the need to revive local economies.

  • South-Eastern Europe is still in search of lasting peace and stability. Overall, the region is moving from a state of conflict and displacement to one of increasing stability and stronger prospects for sustained development. Nevertheless, humanitarian needs and risks remain, particularly in the southern subregion during 2001 (FYROM and South Serbia). The regional CAP for 2002 will focus on protecting displaced and refugee populations and other vulnerable groups, and promoting human rights and minorities' rights.

Other appeals are launched simultaneously on Tuesday in five other donor capitals and in Geneva by heads of UN organisations. These appeals cover the following countries and regions: Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Indonesia, North Caucasus (Russian Federation), Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda and West Africa (including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone).

The launch of the United Nations 2002 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeals will begin at 9.30 o'clock on Tuesday 27 November at the Palais d'Egmont, Petit Sablon 8 B, Brussels.

A press conference with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, European Commissioner Poul Nielson and Belgian State Secretary for Development Co-operation Eddy Boutmans takes place on Tuesday 27 November at 10.30-11.15 o'clock in the Salle Orange of the Palais d'Egmont.

A press kit containing details of all Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeals for 2002, including graphics and photographs in electronic format, will be available on the afternoon of 26

November on http://www.reliefweb.int.

Film footage of humanitarian crises affecting the regions and countries covered by the 2002 Consolidated Inter-agency appeal will be available to television stations through the European Union broadcasting agency Europe by Sattellite. For more info on EbS and its transmission schedule, see http://ec.europa.eu/ebs.

For more information, please contact:

Dirk Depover, spokesman of State Secretary Eddy Boutmans  tel: 02-549.0950  e-mail: ddepover@cabos.fgov.be.

Michael Curtis, spokesman of European Commissioner Poul Nielson  tel: 02-296.5932  e-mail: michael.curtis@ec.europa.eu.

Diederik Kramers, public information officer of UNHCR Brussels  tel: 02-627.1739  e-mail: kramers@unhcr.ch.


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