30 November 2005

Secretary-General Seeks $4.7 Billion for Twenty-Six Humanitarian Crises in 2006

NEW YORK, 29 November -- United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today called for $4.7 billion to provide urgent support to more than 30 million people in humanitarian emergencies in 26 countries worldwide.

"The past year has been a terrible one for victims of natural disasters," said the Secretary-General. "Yet it also demonstrated our tremendous capacity for giving. This Humanitarian Appeal is an opportunity, which must not be missed, to extend that generosity to people whose plight may not capture the world's attention, but whose suffering is no less tragic. In a world of plenty, continued suffering is a terrible stain on our conscience," he added.

"Suffering of this kind anywhere is a threat to humanity everywhere," noted the Secretary-General. "The amount we seek today, while by no means insignificant, is not large for the tasks at hand. Indeed, it is less than what the world spends every 48 hours on its militaries."

Bracketed by the Indian Ocean tsunami and the South Asia earthquake, and additionally marked by the severe food security crisis in Niger, widespread food insecurity throughout the Sahel subregion and Southern Africa, and the worst Atlantic hurricane season on record, 2005 has already been called the year of disasters. The United Nations launched an unprecedented ten Flash Appeals this year and will carry a $766 million funding deficit for five of them into 2006.

"In a year of incomparable disasters, most of the emergencies covered by the Humanitarian Appeal have been out of the spotlight in 2005," said Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. "Unfortunately, many of them have also been 'forgotten' for their entire life-span."

"We can no longer afford to neglect the majority of crises -- to play a humanitarian lottery in which only one or two crises capture the world's attention each year, and therefore its support," stressed Mr. Egeland. "The funding of humanitarian assistance must be more predictable and more equitable. We must also see an expansion of the humanitarian donor community. Nineteen new donors made contributions to the United Nations appeals in 2005, at least nineteen additional new donors should contribute in 2006."

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) launches the Humanitarian Appeal for the forthcoming calendar year each November. The Humanitarian Appeal is composed of all the Consolidated Appeals developed in individual countries or regions through a consultative process that includes the United Nations operational agencies and participating non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In 2006, the Humanitarian Appeal comprises fourteen Consolidated Appeals -- for Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Nepal, occupied Palestinian territory, Republic of Congo, Somalia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, the Great Lakes region and the West African region. Additionally, five Flash Appeals issued by the United Nations in 2005 will have ongoing requirements in 2006 -- for Guatemala, the Indian Ocean tsunami, Malawi, the South Asia earthquake, and the West Africa cholera epidemic. Ongoing emergencies in the Russian Federation, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan are also included within the "Humanitarian Appeal 2006," although they will be addressed through alternative humanitarian response and appeal mechanisms.

On 10 January 2006, the United Nations will host a programme kick-off in Geneva, at which Member States will be invited to state their priorities and outline their funding intentions for 2006.

The Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) is a yearly emergency response programme cycle used by agencies working with relevant authorities at field level, coordinated by the United Nations, and supported by donors, to give people in need the best available protection and assistance when they need it most. A Consolidated Appeal is a fundraising document at the field level for implementation of a Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) -- the strategic plan that assesses needs in an emergency and organizes responses in a prioritized and coordinated manner.

To find out more and have your say, visit http://www.humanitarianappeal.net/.

For further information or to schedule an interview with Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 9262; Elizabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 473 4570.


* *** *