Source: UN Office for the Coordination of
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
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,
For further information, please contact: UN-OCHA Asmara, Eritrea,
Tel.: (291-1) 151666, Fax: 291 -1 151999
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