Joint WFP/UNICEF/UNHCR mission to Africa

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

(Joint statement by the three agencies)

As media and the humanitarian community focus on the spreading drought in the Horn of Africa, UN humanitarian agencies are concerned that more attention is needed to highlight the persistent problems faced by the world's refugees - most of them in Africa.

To highlight the plight of millions of African refugees, internally displaced and returnees, the heads of the three largest UN humanitarian agencies will be travelling Saturday to the Great Lakes region.

António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; James T. Morris, UN World Food Programme Executive Director; and Ann M. Venneman, UNICEF Executive Director, will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi from 25 Feb. to 2 March.

This unprecedented joint mission - the first ever by the three heads of the UN agencies - symbolises as well their closer cooperation to alleviate the plight of refugees.