The Wednesday Watch
Analysis and Commentary from UN Watch in Geneva
Wednesday, 18 December 2002
On Monday, the UN's World Food Program launched its "Africa Hunger Alert"
campaign to draw attention to and raise funds for 38 million people facing
starvation in Africa.
Analysis: Famine in Africa is one of several humanitarian crises for which
the UN created the UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Humanitarian
Assistance, known as "CAP," in 1994. CAP groups the fund-raising programs
of the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, the High
Commissioner for Refugees, plus 18 other humanitarian and human rights
agencies and NGOs to promote the efficient use of donor funds.
The 2003 CAP appeals for over $2.34 billion toward 12 African countries and
2 African regional programs: the "Southern Africa" project encompassing
Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the "Great
Lakes" project addressing humanitarian needs in Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania.
Is it enough? Hard to say. Are the Africans getting a fair share?
Compared to the UN's support for the Palestinians, clearly not.
CAP$ per Beneficiary CAP$ as percentage of GDP("UN Subsidy")
194 11.0% West Bank/Gaza
168 1.9% Burundi
154 N/A Great Lakes
135 0.4% Guinea
118 0.3% Uganda
104 2.7% Angola
103 0.8% Congo
91 0.5% Sudan
80 1.2% Liberia
71 5.1% Eritrea
64 3.1% Sierra Leone
42 0.9% Southern Africa
22 0.7% Ethiopia
6 0.01% Cote d'Ivoire
Sources: (1) 2003 UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Humanitarian
Assistance, (2) CIA World Fact Book
The 2003 CAP asks for nearly nine times as much aid per Palestinian as for
each Ethiopian threatened by famine. The "UN Subsidy" column expresses the
amount of UN aid as a percentage of the country's economy. By this measure,
the UN provides over 12 times more in subsidies to the Palestinian economy
than to the combined economies of the six Southern African countries.
Africans and Palestinians both require substantial humanitarian assistance.
But humanitarian principles also require equity, objectivity and the absence
of political considerations. The UN ought to take another look at Africa's
Also Watched This Week.
Red Card to Child Labor: Today the International Labour Organization hosts a
ceremonial match in Madrid between the Real Madrid football club,
celebrating its 100th anniversary, and a world selection team. The players
and 22 children will raise red cards before the match to demonstrate against
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