U.N. Seeks $2.3B for World Crises
GENEVA (AP) _ The United Nations appealed Tuesday for some $2.34 billion in aid to help ``forgotten people″ in countries from Angola to North Korea through the next year.
This year’s launch, named ``World Humanitarian Day″ and featuring U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, marks a renewed effort by the United Nations to improve funding for its aid operations.
The support is based on country-by-country contributions in addition to whatever is paid in regular U.N. dues.
The campaign combines all the previously scattered U.N. appeals. The idea is to keep little-known crises _ many in Africa _ from losing out in the competition for donor dollars against high-profile situations in places like Kosovo and East Timor.
North Korea, Guinea-Bissau, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone were among the countries least popular with donors.
``We have a duty to look carefully at the needs of all victims _ wherever and whoever they may be _ and judge them by the same humanitarian standard,″ Annan said. ``We must do better.″
Each regional appeal comes with a note: ``What happens if we do not get the resources,″ with dire warnings of consequences if donations are not forthcoming.
Without $124.2 million in aid for Somalia, for example, ``more than 1.2 million people dependent on international food aid due to successive crop failures would lose their lifeline.″
The United Nations held its first combined appeal last year, seeking $2.21 billion for its worldwide aid operations in 1999. With one month of the year to go, donors have pledged $1.47 billion, leaving a shortfall of almost one-third.