Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

122 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the action which has been taken by the UN to address issues of concern in Nigeria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15201/02]

The internal situation in Nigeria has not been a matter of discussion at the UN Security Council.

I am pleased to say that the Taoiseach and I will be meeting tomorrow with President Obasanjo of Nigeria during his State visit to Ireland. It is my intention to discuss with President Obasanjo the political and social development of Nigeria since the return of democracy there in 1999.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

123 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which the UN or EU is currently assisting in the alleviation of hunger and poverty at various locations in Africa; if he has satisfied himself that international aid is getting quickly and efficiently to those for whom it was intended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15202/02]

The interrelated problems of starvation and poverty in Africa are a matter of serious international concern. Global hunger is now estimated as affecting 830 million people world-wide, and the problem is particularly critical in Africa.

Ireland has co-operated closely with our EU partners and other major multilateral donors in the UN system, such as the world food programme, to tackle the humanitarian crises which have affected Africa. Ireland Aid has been actively involved in providing emergency relief to Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda and the great lakes region, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola and Sierra Leone. In 2001 almost €14 million was provided to fund emergency relief and rehabilitation programmes for Africa.
The world food programme has recently warned of an emerging food crisis in southern Africa, which poses an immediate threat to up to 13 million people in six countries in the region. It has launched a major appeal for additional funds from international donors to meet the requirement for the 1.2 million metric tonnes of food aid which it estimates is needed immediately to relieve grave food shortages. In total, four million tonnes must be imported over the next year merely to cover the minimum food requirements of the subregion's population. So far this year, Ireland Aid has allocated €1.2 million specifically targeted at the emerging food crisis in southern Africa.
To co-ordinate the movement of food aid to nearly 13 million people in the region threatened by starvation, the WFP has also set up a regional logistics centre in South Africa. The regional office, expected to be up and running in the next few weeks, will co-ordinate logistical and transport operations, intervene where local bottlenecks are identified, and liaise with major donors and UN agencies.
It is essential that the necessary measures are put in place at UN and EU level to ensure that aid is delivered swiftly and effectively to alleviate starvation in southern Africa. Ireland Aid will continue to monitor developments closely, and to liaise closely in this connection with other major donors, including the EU and the UN.