UN humanitarian official calls on international community to support Eritrea’s progress

John Ging, Director of Operations at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. UN Photo/Fabrice Arlot

20 November 2012 – The international community must support Eritrea as it strives to end hunger and increase its resilience to severe climatic conditions, a United Nations humanitarian official said today following a two-day visit to the Horn of Africa country.

“Working together, we can build food security and enhance nutrition amongst the Eritrean population, supporting the Government in their efforts to halve the number of people in hunger by 2015,” said John Ging, the Director of Operations at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

During his two-day visit, Mr. Ging was briefed on Eritrea’s progress towards the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Agreed on by world leaders at a UN summit in 2015, the MDGs set specific targets on a range of issues, including poverty alleviation and education, all for completion by the deadline date of 2015.

According to OCHA, Eritrea has made progress in various Goals, particularly reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

“We must do all that we can to support these efforts,” Mr. Ging said, stressing that humanitarian action can help provide Eritrea with a solid foundation for development which, in turn, can aid communities in addressing hunger and malnutrition, while at the same time build the resilience needed to cope with climate change.

In his meetings with various senior Eritrean officials as well as humanitarian partners and representatives of the donor community, Mr. Ging welcomed the renewed partnership between the Government and humanitarian and development agencies, which will soon be finalized through a strategic partnership cooperation framework for 2013 to 2016.

While visiting the villages of Embeyto and Kodadu, Mr. Ging saw first-hand the benefits of a water project implemented jointly by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Government and local community. The project provides nearly 2,000 people with access to safe and adequate drinking water, and is maintained by a local water and sanitation committee involving equal numbers of men and women.

The OCHA official also visited a health centre just outside Asmara City, where he met children receiving therapeutic feeding for malnutrition.


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