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Minister Costello travels to US for high-level meetings with the United Nations and World Bank

United Nations, Press Releases, Ireland, 2012

Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello will travel to the United States tomorrow (Monday) for high-level meetings with the United Nations and World Bank to discuss the humanitarian crisis caused by conflict in Syria, international development issues and new trade opportunities for Irish companies. Minister Costello said:

"Following my visit to the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan last month, I announced an additional €1.5 million in humanitarian funding to provide vital support to civilians inside Syria who have been affected by the crisis and those who have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries. I have also approved the release of essential humanitarian supplies, such as tents and blankets, from our emergency stockpiles in Dubai.

Ireland is working energetically in search of an early ceasefire and urgent political transition in Syria, and along with our EU partners, will continue to press for unrestricted humanitarian access to affected civilians. I look forward to discussing these critical issues with UN Assistant Secretary General Catherine Bragg during my visit to New York.”

Minister Costello will also meet UNICEF Director, Anthony Lake to discuss Ireland’s work with UNICEF to tackle maternal and child hunger and HIV and AIDS in some of the world’s poorest countries. Minister Costello said:

“Ireland’s support to UNICEF helps the world’s most disadvantaged children to reach their full potential with targeted measures to save and enhance their lives. Ireland also supports UNICEF efforts to help communities affected by crisis or disaster to rebuild their lives and I look forward to discussing our shared goals with Mr Lake.”

Minister Costello will meet with the new UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, for an exchange of views on the future shape of the international development agenda, as we approach the 2015 deadline for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  Minister Costello said:

“My visit comes at a pivotal time in the international development agenda. During Ireland’s Presidency of the EU in 2013, one of our key priorities will be developing an EU position on the post-2015 development agenda. It will be important to coordinate closely with the UN in this regard and my meetings this week will afford me the opportunity to discuss these important issues.”

He will visit the World Bank in Washington on September 13 to meet senior officials including Managing Director, Caroline Anstey, to discuss Ireland’s cooperation with the Bank on food security, fragile states and private sector development. Minister Costello said:

"I will also discuss new trade opportunities for Irish businesses in frontier markets such as Africa with the International Finance Corporation. Africa is changing and growth rates in many countries reached 7% over the last five years.

While much of this growth is from a low base - and indeed is unevenly spread - it is clear that Africa is emerging as the continent of the future.  This growth presents great opportunities for Africa, but also opens up opportunities for Irish businesses which I will discuss with the International Finance Corporation.”

At a reception in Washington, Minister Costello will present a certificate of Irish Heritage to Professor Catherine Bertini, former Chief Executive of the United Nations’ World Food Programme.