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Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Date: 30 Mar 2004

Return visit of the Special Envoy, Mr. Martti Ahtisaari to Eritrea

Asmara, Tuesday, 30 March 2004 - Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa arrives in Asmara, Eritrea on 31 March 2004 for a two-day visit. Mr. Ahtisaari's mandate was recently extended for six months.
The purpose of the Special Envoy's visit is to be updated on the humanitarian situation and highlight any gaps in assistance. He will also discuss the progress made in the implementation of recovery and food security strategies that can reduce the region's vulnerability to drought.

A number of strategies have been developed towards recovery and development most notably the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP), the National Food Security Strategy (NFSS), and the recently approved Integrated Recovery Programme (IRP).

The Special Envoy was last in Eritrea in November when he raised the profile of the CAP (Consolidated Appeal Process) and IRP (Integrated Recovery Programme) for 2004.

An estimated 1.9 million people are unlikely to be able to feed themselves in Eritrea this year. The need for a timely and adequate response to avert a humanitarian catastrophe is a priority. The country has suffered four years of drought with rains in 2003 below average resulting in crop failure and loss of livestock. Compounding this is the continuing border conflict with Ethiopia. Household coping mechanisms and safety nets that would normally prevent starvation are being eroded.

Mr. Ahtisaari has highlighted the challenges facing Eritrea and the region since his appointment as Special Envoy in June 2003. On his previous two missions to Eritrea, he held discussions with UN agencies, donors, the Government, NGOs and other partners. He has contributed significantly to raising awareness of the situation among the international community resulting in an improved response from the donors.

Mr. Ahtisaari served as President of the Republic of Finland from 1994 - 2000. His most recent appointment was chairing the Independent Panel on the Safety and Security of UN Personnel in Iraq.

After concluding his visit to Eritrea, the Special Envoy will depart for Ethiopia.

Mr. Ahtisaari will be accompanied by his Adviser Ms. Meeri-Maria Jaarva; Mr. Eric Laroche, Deputy Director, UNICEF Emergencies Division, Geneva; Ms. Daniela Owen, WFP Representative, Rome; Ms. Olla Hassan, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, OCHA.

For further information, please contact: UN-OCHA Asmara, Eritrea, Tel.: (291-1) 151666, Fax: 291 -1 151999


With the exception of public UN sources, reproduction or redistribution of the above text, in whole, part or in any form, requires the prior consent of the original source.

Related Documents:
Latest Emergency Updates: Eritrea-Ethiopia; Horn of Africa Drought
Latest By Country: Eritrea
Other ReliefWeb documents by: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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