The Asian tsunami has provided a perfect example of the need for an effective UN under an activist Secretary General. This time Kofi Annan was quick off the mark and America's independent efforts soon looked superfluous.Tell that to the Marines.
Meanwhile, in the Yorkshire Post letters yesterday, from Ged Robinson in Leeds, this incredible contribution:
EU puts quake cash up frontAlthough he does not identify his position, Ged Robinson is a Labour Councillor for Farnley, in Leeds, and a leading light in the Leeds branch of the European Movement.
As many letters on this page criticise the EU and our membership of it, I thought I would give some details of the EU's role in the response to the humanitarian disaster in Asia.
The European Commission's Humanitarian Office (Echo) committed funds – not just pledged – immediately to the Red Cross and the UN.
The European Civil Protection Mechanism has been coordinating efforts across the affected areas, and Echo staff have worked around the clock since the disaster occurred. Assessment and evaluation continue to take place in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives and Somalia.
The UN remains the global coordinator, but the EU has a clear and defined role supporting its efforts. The Commission will be funding the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to strengthen its work.
Up until now, the European Commission and member states have committed 240m euros, and this figure is certain to increase after the UN's final assessment, and the global appeal is launched this month in Geneva. Without doubt, future funding will require additional resources from the EU's emergency reserve which stands at 200m euros.
Yet again, in response to an international catastrophe, we see why we are members of a pan-European partnership such as the EU. We can achieve more together than we can alone.
We did predict, on this Blog, that this is what would happen. These people are totally shameless when it comes to promoting the cause. As for the Beeb, they are beneath contempt.