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Kofi Annan-led forum closes due to lack of funds

The Swiss government says it will pay half of the debts of an insolvent private foundation headed by the former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

In a statement on Wednesday, the foreign ministry said it had set aside SFr1.75 million ($1.66 million) to cover the debts of the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF).

Switzerland has also agreed to pay the outstanding salaries and social security benefits of the GHF staff.

"It is a great disappointment to all of us that this promising project had to end this way," Annan said. Annan was GHF president, and forum's CEO was former head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Walter Fust.

The Forum began operations in 2007, and Switzerland committed SFr1 million annually to support its activities.

However, the GHF was unable to drum up enough funding from other donors and announced earlier this month that it would suspend its work.

Its most concrete project was to install weather data collectors on mobile phone towers in Africa to provide better climate data to impoverished communities.

The foreign ministry praised the agency for its efforts to improve dialogue on humanitarian challenges, such as making the impacts of climate change better known.

It added that some of the themes tackled by the GHF would be put into the programme of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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