PRESS CONFERENCE: INTERVIEW, NICK MORRIS (title on label) [Allocated Title]
Nicholas Morris welcomes the assembled journalists to the press conference and introduces the appeal from nine agencies to fund their programmes for the whole of the former Yugoslavia over the next six months.
Nicholas Morris welcomes the assembled journalists to the press conference and introduces the appeal from nine agencies to fund their programmes for the whole of the former Yugoslavia over the next six months. He says that six of these organisations are represented here, the three that are missing are the Food and Agriculture American Programme, which hopes to expand its seed programme, the UN Volunteer Programme and the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs.
Nicolas Morris, as the representative of UNHCR, explains that there is a focus on funding for the next six months because it is hard to predict what will be required beyond that point. He says that UNHCR have made significant reductions in their projected costs but that the core life-saving elements are still intact. He stresses that the programmes that remain are those that are absolutely essential so he urges donors to support them. He outlines the work that the UNHCR does in caring for the most vulnerable, the refugees and the communities in danger. He says that UNHCR also runs reconstruction projects to rebuild schools and health centres. He says that they are not going to reduce the number of staff working in the region.
Dr. Hannu Vuori of the World Health Organisation says that they are preparing for winter and the poor conditions that entails. He says that due to the changing military situation, there will be newly displaced persons to care for and an increased need for surgeries. He says that they are focusing on the elderly in urban areas. The distribution of medical supplies remains their top priority.
Various shots of journalists writing and listening to these presentations. Panning shot shows Mr. Andreas Halbach of International Organisation for Migration, Mr. Shemsul Farooq of UNICEF and Mr Jean-Pierre Cebron of the World Food Programme. Shot of Ms. Mari Helena Henriques Mueller of UNESCO and Mr. Alex Braunwalder of ICRC. Shots of other delegates and members of the press.
Jean-Pierre Cebron of the WFP says that more than 500,000 tonnes of food will be needed. He also said that there may be a gap between donations in late January or early February that could potentially be very damaging. Mr. Shemsul Farooq of UNICEF describes the programmes that they hope to continue in the next six months, highlighting their distribution of supplies for schools.
Shot of the brochure and the appeal document on the table. Poor quality sequence [40 secs].
End of the presentations. Nicholas Morris reminds the assembled journalists that local organisations, host families and those carrying out airlifts are all important parts of the humanitarian effort that are not included in the appeal. He says that their November information notes have been published. He ends by saying that humanitarian aid can keep people alive but it cannot give them hope; the need for political solutions remains as pressing as ever.
Question and answer session. Nicholas Morris says that he is very concerned about the lack of access to the Bihać enclave and as only 126 tonnes of aid has made it into the enclave in the last month, they are running out of food there. He says that Sarajevo and the eastern enclaves remain a concern because of the unpredictability of events in those areas. He says that the seed programme has been successful and that UNHCR looks to buy locally but that it needs to be cost effective for them to do so. The UN has been working to restart local industry but lack of regular access has made this difficult. He says that there have been no airdrops into the Bihać pocket because it would be too dangerous; this was a judgement call made by the military and it is not for him to comment on it. He reiterates that they will not use aid as a weapon of war, as local sides have done, because this introduces a political element into something that should be considered a right.
Interview with Nicholas Morris. He says that donors do inderstand the need to fund UNHCR nd other aid organisations through the winter moniths, He thinks that htey will be able to find a programme that just covers the absolute essentials. They are currently short of money so if they had to prioritise, the delivery of food would become their sole objective. At present they are able to support communities and activities and want to keep these projects going but if it was completely necessary, they would be cut to protect UNHCR's ability to distribute food.
He says that UNHCR is funded voluntarily by donor countries at different points in the year so they would be able to keep the programme going as long as the donors think there is hope for a political solution. This year, the shortfall is 20 million US dollars. He puts this down to doubts within in the international community that political and military solutions could be reached. He says that over the last few years the donor countries have been incredibly generous and that governments are reading to keep funding humanitarian missions. He hopes that this will continue in the long term but it is very hard to predict what the situation will be like in two or three years' time. He finishes by saying that fundraising is ongoing. UNHCR is not reliant on a single appeal for funding so he hopes that they will collect enough money. If something had to be cut, the first programme to go would be reconstruction work in specific communities.