9 May 2006

Secretary-General Contributes $500,000 Zayed Prize to UN Relief Effort in Darfur

NEW YORK, 8 May (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

To highlight the urgent need for contributions to the humanitarian appeal in Darfur, the Secretary-General has decided to contribute the $500,000 Zayed Prize he was awarded in February 2006 to the UN-led relief effort there.  Currently, contributions stand at only 20 per cent of need, with devastating implications on the ground.  As he said last Friday, he hopes that not just Governments but, as with the tsunami-relief effort, ordinary citizens, as well as corporations and other actors, will step forward to help meet the very urgent needs there.  He hopes his decision will help encourage other donors to contribute.

The Secretary-General had previously announced, upon receipt of the Prize, that it would serve as seed money for a foundation he had planned to establish to promote girls' education and agriculture in Africa.  Given the massive shortfall in contributions to the Darfur-relief effort, he now feels that the money is more urgently needed there.  However, the Secretary-General is still proceeding with plans to establish a fund along the line he announced.

* *** *