UN envoy's tour refocuses attention on drought, HIV/AIDS in southern Africa

23 May 2005
James T. Morris

The United Nations special envoy for southern Africa arrived in Zambia today, his first stop in an 11-day, four-nation tour to refocus attention on the severe problems of the region intensified by drought and HIV/AIDS.

James T. Morris is Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Humanitarian Envoy for southern Africa and also the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP). Food insecurity has been heightened this year in Zambia after three years of unfavourable conditions.

In addition, the country has an adult HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of nearly 17 per cent, with nearly a million orphaned children – roughly 10 per cent of the population. Further compounding the crisis, Government capacity to deal with these problems has weakened.

Before embarking on the tour, Mr. Morris stressed that efforts to deal with this "triple threat" – of food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and weakened Government capacity – must not fail.

Mr. Morris leaves Zambia tomorrow to attend a review conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on HIV/AIDS that is also expected to draw the chiefs of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Ann Veneman, and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Peter Piot.

He will then spend 26 and 27 May in Malawi, and 29 and 30 May in Botswana. After returning to Johannesburg for a donors' meeting on 31 May, he will end his tour in Zimbabwe, arriving there 1 June.


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