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    The United Nations Development Programme

    Maseru (Mopheme/The Survivor, October 27, 1998) - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Coordinator to Lesotho Edward Omotoso says poverty is the root of all social problems that hinder human advancement in the world.

    Addressing about 50 children from the Ministry of Salvation and the Girl Guides Centre for Children at the United Nations building on Saturday, Omotoso noted that the world has enough resources to cater for the needs of every person living on the planet. He again noted that when people have enough to eat, adequate health facilities and money to pay for their education, they are able to make informed choices. "But those without the above resources, always resort to crime, conflicts and wars. Even amongst countries, poverty causes conflicts such as struggle for power as many politicians believe being in power can be their continuous source of income."

    The chairperson at the occasion, Mrs. Lineo Mdee, observed that the UN system in Lesotho for the past ten years has been sharing food with the disadvantaged people on their UN Day celebrations. She pointed "this year we chose to share food with the children from the Ministry of Salvation in Mohala-litoe and the Girl Guides Centre for children, as a call for poverty eradication."

    Speaking on behalf of the children from the Ministry of Salvation, Takatso Mohale, said poverty is a beast which has come to conquer the world. He said if it is not stopped in time, it will soon conquer the nations.

    He observed that the 1998 theme "the well-being, peace and security of mankind can only be obtained through its unity" is a challenge to the youth of Lesotho. "We have to start taking charge of our lives in order for us to eradicate poverty. Crime does not solve any problems."

    The day was marked by the award giving to the winners of the 10th Peace Essay Contest organised by the Bahai Community of Lesotho in collaboration with the United Nations organisations in Lesotho.

    Speaking on behalf of the Baha'i Community, Mr. Khoeli Pholosi, said it is time that the privileged work together with the UN systems to obtain peace and unity.

    He said the world is one big family and, "all of us are the members of that family". He quoted from the essay written by participants that, "Unity is fostered at family level. If natured from there, it can grow to the international level."

    Another participant wrote: " If we could put our skin colour aside, see each other as who we are, we could have a better world."

    The United Nations was established on October 24 1945 in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Omotoso held a press briefing at the UN house to explain the activities of UN. Omotoso said a new UNDP study disclosed that nearly 12 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. Nearly 800 million people go hungry every day. The UN describes 48 countries as the world's least developed. Thirty-three of them are in Africa and Lesotho is one of them.

    "There is a need to give more assistance. Official development assistance is shrinking while it should increase. Countries of the former Soviet Union have disappeared as donors and all of them are now recipient countries," he observed.

    He called upon the political leaders to join hands in a war against poverty. "Lets use all our resources, all our God-given talents to fight this scourge.

    By Kekeletso Motopi

    © Copyright 1998 Mopheme/The Survivor

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