Liz O'Donnell, welcomes UNICEF's 1998 State of the World's Children Report.
Minister for Overseas Development and Human Rights, Liz O'Donnell, TD, welcomes UNICEF's 1998 State of the World's Children Report.
The Minister of State for Overseas Development and Human Rights, Liz O'Donnell TD, today warmly welcomed the publication earlier this week of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 1998 State of the World's Children Report saying "We should all bear in mind during this festive season that over 200 million children in developing countries under the age of five are malnourished". Minister O'Donnell continued "Malnutrition contributes to nearly seven million child deaths worldwide every year, mainly from preventable causes. It also has a long-term debilitating effect on the millions of survivors, who are left physically and mentally impaired and chronically vulnerable to illness. The drain on global development is staggering. Malnutrition is estimated to cost some countries the equivalant of more than 5 per cent of their GNP in lost lives, disability and productivity"
Minister O'Donnell emphasised that the reduction of malnutrition is an urgent global priority. While there have been dramatic gains in reducing child malnutrition in some regions, the actual number of malnourished children worldwide continues to grow. The huge toll which malnutrition imposes in human suffering and waste is preventable. The UNICEF report underlines that the world knows what is needed to end malnutrition. It makes it clear that sound nutrition can change childrens's lives, ensure their healthy growth and development, and lay a firm foundation for greater productivity, social equity and peace. The international community must respond to this challenge and the Minister stated that Ireland will play its full part in this process.
Pointing out that the issue of food security is a high priority in Ireland's development aid programme the Minister said "In 1997, the majority of the IEP6 Million emergency aid budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs was spent on food aid." She continued "In 1998, Ireland, together with our EU partners, intends to place a particular focus on ensuring food security in sub-Saharan Africa."
Note for Editors
Ireland provided £235,000 for UNICEF's emergency relief operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Northern Sudan and Somalia. This relief included food aid, care of unaccompanied children and emergency health care. During 1997, Ireland also directed £850,000 through the World Food Programme for emergency food aid to Tanzania, North Korea, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ireland makes an annual voluntary contribution to UNICEF, which amounted to £1.2m in 1997. A special contribution of £1.1m was made to the World Food Programme in 1997.