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Arab Wealth Sought To Boost Emergency Response

UNICEF Calls On Arab Funds To Boost Response To Global Emergencies

Launching the latest United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) humanitarian report in the Arab world, the agency’s Deputy Executive Director has called on the donor community, Arab funds and humanitarian agencies to do more to maximize the region’s capacity to respond to persisting emergencies around the globe.

“Hundreds of millions of children worldwide are born with their basic rights already denied as the threats of poverty, armed conflict and HIV/AIDS replicate from one generation to the next,” Rima Salah said at yesterday’s launching ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“Moreover, we are at risk of seeing last decade’s achievements in the child development area decline as we have failed to recommit to our moral and legal responsibility to safeguard future generations from harm and abuse,” she added.

The UNICEF Humanitarian Action Report 2005 presents an overview of crisis countries where children continue to face severe deprivations of their rights to survival, health and nutrition; education and protection from harm; exploitation and discrimination. It also lays emphasis on funding appeals and plans of action in the area of humanitarian response in the year ahead.

With an eye on enduring conflict and emergency situations in the Arab world, it reviews the effect of humanitarian action taken in post-war Iraq, the Darfur region of Sudan and the occupied Palestinian territory. Additional reference is given to countries vulnerable to natural disasters, such as Iran, Algeria, Sudan and Djibouti, where recent floods and earthquakes have left thousands of people displaced and homeless.

UNICEF called for reinvigorated contributions to conflict-ridden Darfur, where an estimated 1.3 million victims of the fighting are children and around 550,000 children under five are particularly vulnerable to the effects of violence, abuse, hunger, disease and exploitation.

“All that we require is the willingness from various sectors to get involved and stay engaged,” Ms. Salah said.

Also today in Dubai, UNICEF launched its global web site in Arabic to provide Arab Internet users of all ages with quick reference material, online news and up to date information on global issues related to the agency’s mandate in favour of children.

“There is a big gap in the use of Internet and Internet content in Arabic. This often leads to a gap in the understanding of various cultures in the world,” UNICEF’s Communication Division Director Sharad Sapra told regional and local media representatives.

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