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Afghanistan: UN launches $815 million appeal for humanitarian, rebuilding efforts

Afghanistan: UN launches $815 million appeal for humanitarian, rebuilding efforts

The United Nations today launched an $815 million appeal to help Afghanistan with its humanitarian operations and rebuilding efforts, with Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging the international community to continue to invest in the country's recovery and security.

In a message to the opening of a meeting in Oslo of the Afghan Support Group, the Secretary-General said that the changes in Afghanistan’s political and security landscape are “inextricably linked” to the resolution of the humanitarian plight still facing millions of Afghans, and to the essential requirement for accelerated social and economic reconstruction.

"I urge you all to continue to invest in the recovery and security of Afghanistan, to invest in the will and capacity of Afghans themselves to rebuild their country and to win the struggle for return and survival that so many Afghans still face," he said in his remarks, which were delivered by his Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi. "The events of the last year give us all cause for optimism, but not for complacency. We must remain steadfast in our commitment to Afghanistan."

In his own address to the meeting, Mr. Brahimi reminded the audience that a year ago, when in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the Secretary-General had invited people to think about a little girl born on that day in far away Afghanistan as a symbol of the need for international solidarity and cooperation.

The UN envoy invited the audience to keep thinking of the needs of the little girl who will be born today and the various responsibilities that the international community has to that child. “Let us think of her nutrition and health needs, let us think of the extreme weather conditions she may be facing, let us ask ourselves if she and her mother have a roof over her heads,” he said.

The $815 million appeal, known as the 2003 UN Transitional Assistance Programme for Afghanistan, links humanitarian aid, recovery assistance and capacity building. It is slated to help millions of poor and hungry people, providing shelter and livelihoods for Afghans, especially the growing urban population, while also addressing the needs of rural areas.

The Programme will also support health, education, community services, water and sanitation, and landmine removal activities starting in January and running through March 2004.