Vienna, 17 October 2006 - More than one billion people worldwide still live in extreme poverty. Every day up to 100,000 people die of starvation and its consequences, i.e. about 69 people per minute, among them 11 children.
In cooperation with the United Nations Austria supports the elimination of global poverty – by increasing investments in development cooperation and partnership with developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and South-East Europe. "The dimension of human security is essential to the Austrian Development Cooperation. After all, a life in dignity, free from fear and need, is the precondition for sustainable development," emphasised Foreign Minister Plassnik on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty.
"Being poor means living a life without security; poverty means hunger, diseases, natural catastrophes or being exposed to violence with no protection. Poverty deprives people of opportunities - of a life based on self-determination and self-reliance, of education and health and better prospects for their children. The weakest members of society are the losers in the fight for everyday survival - women, children, disabled people and discriminated groups," continued Plassnik. "The consequences of global injustice concern all of us, they are the biggest challenge for the international community of states. Only if we succeed in permanently reducing the gap between rich and poor and making the global distribution of resources more just will we be able to preserve our wealth and our security in the future," she added.
Poverty is closely related to human rights violations, poor governance, violent conflicts, migration and environmental destruction. The safeguarding of human rights is therefore a decisive precondition for more security and more development. Austria's development cooperation follows this principle: "We want to empower people to assert their rights, to take their lives in their own hands and thus overcome poverty," said the Foreign Minister.
More than a third of over 700 programmes and projects financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation promote democracy and human rights in the partner countries. Austria also supports the international "Human Security Network", which developed in 1999 from successful cooperation between Austria, Norway and Canada aimed at bringing about an international ban on anti-personnel mines. The Network mainly focuses on providing human rights education for children and young people to create the basis for long-term human security. To this end, a human rights manual was elaborated which has meanwhile been translated into 13 languages.
With the aim of raising awareness of human security issues among the Austrian public, the Austrian Development Cooperation will launch an information campaign in cooperation with the print media on 17 October under the slogan "development provides security". After all, there is no security without development - and no development without security.
More information on the information campaign can be accessed at www.aussenministerium.at/oeza.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213