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UN humanitarian chief kicks off first-ever visit to Asia

UN humanitarian chief kicks off first-ever visit to Asia

John Holmes
United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes today embarked on his first mission to Asia since taking office in March.

Mr. Holmes, who also serves as UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, will stop in the Republic of Korea and Japan.

Tomorrow in Seoul, Mr. Holmes will open the regional meeting of the Donor Support Group for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Also while in the Republic of Korea’s capital, he is scheduled to meet with Government authorities and representatives of Korean non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in emergency relief operations. He will also give a lecture at Kyung Hee University on 13 June.

During a two-day visit to Tokyo from 14 to 15 June, Mr. Holmes will hold discussions with Japanese Government ministers and senior officials including Sadako Ogata, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and current President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

He also plans to confer with a group of Japanese parliamentarians on diplomatic affairs and human security, and will also meet with UN representatives based in Japan. Also on his agenda is an address at the Japan Foundation to academics, students, NGOs and private sector representatives.

The focus of Mr. Holmes’ trip will be on bolstering humanitarian partnerships and he will hold strategic and policy discussions in both countries on natural disaster management, climate change and its implications for humanitarian aid and disaster risk reductions, among other issues, according to OCHA.

Both the Republic of Korea and Japan are important donors to humanitarian operations and in have contributed to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), a landmark resource which rapidly provides funds following disasters and finances underfunded emergencies.