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San José, Costa Rica, January 3, 2005

Dear Colleagues:

Southern Asia.

One cannot remain passive on the face of a catastrophe like the one just inflicted upon the peoples of Southern Asia by the quake and the tsunamis.

IFCW cannot remain passive on the face of this tragedy, either. On behalf of all members I have expressed to the authorities of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand our most sincere condolences for the loss of so many lives and our solidarity with the efforts of reconstruction on the difficult days and months ahead.

For a moment I thought of taking a more active role in relation with the relief efforts, but then I realized that we do not have in place, at present, the necessary infrastructure to be able to handle such an effort and that to do so would be irresponsible on our part. Each member, however, can (and I am sure many are doing so already) provide assistance through his or her national or international contacts. UNICEF, OXFAM, RED CROSS, etc., have all established special funds to handle donations from organizations and individuals. I am contacting our members in India and Indonesia to obtain updated information about needs, so that each member organization can respond within their possibilities to this urgent effort.

My special request to each one of you is that you do report back to us information about the assistance you are providing, including type and amount being allocated to this emergency, so that we can quantify IFCW's member's efforts.

WorldForum 2005, Tallinn, Estonia

By now you should have received a small desk calendar with a reminder of the dates of this year's WorldForum, which marks our "return to Europe". I am encouraged by the response that I have received from many members that were not able to attend the previous event but that are making plans to be in Tallinn in September. Please mark your agenda with the dates of WorldForum 2005 (September 19-23) so that you do not miss this meeting with your peers and a chance to learn about Europe's latest advances in relation to child welfare.

Infant Mortality: 0

During the last couple of decades Costa Rica has been able to lower its infant mortality rate to figures similar to those shown by developed nations. (10.2 deaths for each 1.000 live births) This has been the result of an extended network of basic health posts, introduction of potable water services to almost all the population and a campaign to encourage mothers to avail themselves of pre-natal care and to vaccinate all children. The case of Costa Rica has been the subject of studies and numerous visits from health officers of other developing nations.

As a curiosity that merits being mentioned, there is one "canton" (a municipal district, of which there are 81 in Costa Rica) of the Province of Alajuela that shows an infant mortality rate of "0" for the past year. This accomplishment has been possible due to the community's involvement in health-related issues and to the support received from national authorities.

Perhaps IFCW should make an effort to recognize and encourage these types of efforts by a person or a community. Any suggestions?

Executive Committee .

For your convenience I am including with this letter an updated version of the composition of the Executive Committee for 2005, as well as the names and addresses of the persons that represent IFCW in the United Nations. Please keep this document close at hand for future reference.

For your information, this year's mid-term meeting of the Executive Committee will take place in March, instead of the customary date of early February. This is due to the fact that since this year we are changing Treasurer we wish to be able to receive and study the independent audit report for the year 2004 and for this we have to provide some additional time for the auditors to finish their work. The meeting will take place in Tallinn, Estonia to discuss with our Estonian colleagues the details of WF 2005.

I close this letter with my best wishes for a New Year full of accomplishments and personal health to each and every one of you.

Rolando Quirós F.



IFCW * P.O. Box 393-2010 * San José, Costa Rica.

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