Minister of State Burton announces initiatives to contribute to humanitarian assistance
Minister of State Burton announces two initiatives intended to
contribute to improve humanitarian assistance
At a conference on selective feeding organised by Concern, Minister of State for Development
Co-operation, Joan Burton, today said that:
"It is very easy when faced with a humanitarian crisis to rush in with well-meaning but ill-conceived and badly-planned interventions. What has become abundantly clear in recent years is that this type of approach does far more harm than good. Emergency situations require as much systematic analysis and thorough planning as any long-term development or rehabilitation programme. The necessity for an immediate response to a crisis in no way mitigates the responsibility of the international community to implement an effective as well as a rapid response. The provision of emergency assistance does not take place in a political or social or economic or environmental vacuum. The Concern Selective Feeding Conference will make a tangible contribution to the important task of professionalising the practise of humanitarian aid. I must add that Concern has extensive experience in relation to emergency feeding programmes and is, I feel, particularly well placed to take a lead in this area."
Minister Burton then announced two initiatives in which the Department of Foreign Affairs was engaged with the intention of contributing to the continuing improvement of the practise of emergency humanitarian assistance.
The first of these initiatives announced was the establishment of a Humanitarian Liaison Group and a Rapid Response Register, in line with the Government's commitments in the White Paper on Foreign Policy. Officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs along with their counterparts in APSO have been working throughout the last year to ensure that the Rapid Response Register becomes operational as soon as possible. The first scheduled training course for participants in the Rapid Response Register would take place in March.
The second initiative announced was that the Department of Foreign Affairs had recently provided IR£25,000 to the Emergency Nutrition Network established by the Department of Community Health and General Practice, Trinity College, Dublin. Minister Burton said that:
"The main objectives of this project are to facilitate exchange of field level experiences in the food and nutritional sector during emergencies; to encourage those involved in such programmes to write up their experiences which in turn strengthens the institutional memory amongst aid agencies and personnel working in this field; and to help field staff keep abreast of current research and evaluations that are of practical relevance to their work. I am delighted to have just received the first report of this project and to see that the first phase of this initiative is being successfully implemented."Top