The United Nations is appealing for three-billion-dollars for 50-million people in countries worldwide, ravaged by conflict, disease and other crises. U.N. leaders are launching the 2003 Consolidated Annual Appeal, this year titled ?hope for the future,? in eight cities around the world. U.N.?s Chief of Development Programs, Mark Malloch Brown, made his appeal in Washington Tuesday.

?The appeal today for almost three billion dollars for 50-million people is really something targeted at those inside countries and outside, but sharing in common the utter destitution of having been displaced from their homes, lacking often both the physical means for their own security but even food, education, the very basics of life.?

Among the 30 countries included in this year?s U.N. appeal, are Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uganda. Tajikistan, whose president Emomali Rakhmonov visits Washington next month, is a key ally in the fight against terrorism. Its proximity to Afghanistan has provided an air base for U.S. troops, and accessibility for aid workers. But Tajikistani humanitarian coordinator Matthew Kahane, says Tajikistan needs food assistance.

?If Tajikistan is to be able to continue providing this assistance and the support to Afghanistan clearly it is a country that also needs assistance itself.?

The massive air strikes that forced out the Taleban and paved the way for the government of President Hamid Karzai, also destroyed infrastructure. U.N. humanitarian affairs representative to Afghanistan Nigel Fisher says international assistance is what Afghanistan needs most.

NIGEL FISHER, DEPUTY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS IN AFGHANISTAN. ?Today?s government is internationally recognized, has a visionary national budget and plans for reconstruction but is still very much in the process of establishing its authority nationwide. The way in which international assistance is delivered can either strengthen or weaken that authority.?

While President Yoweri Museveni?s Uganda has been championed as Africa?s success story because of its economic progress and reduction in HIV infections, U.N. Development Program Representative Daouda Youre says some parts of Uganda still need help.

?Uganda is still facing a continuous insurgency over the last 16-years and this is indeed as was mentioned, done by the Lord Resistance Army insurgency in the Northern part of the country. And as a result, that part of the country is lagging far behind the rest of the country.?

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on the international community to support the appeals and redouble efforts to address the root causes of all crises around the world.