24 September 2011
Intervention by H.E. Dr. Salehi
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
on Humanitarian Response to the Horn of Africa
(New York – 24 September 2011)
It is a dreadful fact that more than 12 million people across Somalia and the Horn of Africa are suffering a fatal drought and hunger. This number can not be justified by any measure and the global community has a clear responsibility to demonstrate in practice its solidarity and support with a view of urgently overcoming the famine in that region.
we call for undertaking a twin track approach that involves addressing both immediate relief needs as well as the root causes of the problem. Indeed, it is a matter of serious concern that the share of agriculture investment throughout the world has continuously dropped in the last two decades and as a result many countries find themselves more vulnerable to natural or manmade shocks. While the food crisis in the Horn of Africa was triggered by high food prices, drought and conflict, in fact, the underlying cause for the region’s vulnerability is underinvestment in agriculture. Inadequate investment in agriculture will inevitably result in similar famine in future.
Through cooperation of regional and international institutions, partnerships, political will and on time fulfillment of the commitments of donors this cycle can be overcome. I would like in particular urge OECD and G8 members to expedite delivering of commitments they made concerning food security and to make additional pledges. Meanwhile, in addressing the immediate needs of the affected populations, each member State, international bodies such as FAO, IFAD, WFP and relevant civil society community have to fulfill their respective responsibilities.
The Islamic Republic of Iran from the early stages of the crisis has expressed its solidarity with the famine stricken countries. Iran’s Supreme Leader and other religious leaders were directly involved in the national awareness and aid raising campaigns. As a symbolic move they contributed each 20,000 and 15,000 dollars respectively. The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has allocated 25 million dollars and public relief mobilization campaign has so far raised 50 million dollars and the figure continues to grow up. In addition, Iranians who live in the neighboring Persian Gulf Countries have raised 2.2 million dollars of aid.
Meanwhile, Red Crescent Society of Iran has been seriously active in relief operation in Somalia. Its activities in Somalia include:
- delivering a shipment of 5000 tons of essential first aids including 4500 tons of rice;
- airlifting 15 cargos of 550 tons of aids valued 3 million dollars;
- collection of 40 million dollars of donations;
- establishing 8 camps and 2 health centers;
- establishing a silo with the capacity of 200 tons of food in Mogadishu;
- covering 5 camps in Somalia; and
- planning for dispatching aid to neighboring countries.
Other humanitarian relief agencies have also been active in sending essential aids and assistance to the affected region.
The Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue providing support and aid to the needy people of the horn of Africa as long as it takes.
Thank you very much.