UN relief chief ends Persian Gulf trip with call for greater cooperation

10 April 2008

The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator today wrapped up his four-country tour of the Persian Gulf region by calling for closer coordination between Gulf nations and the world body in tackling both humanitarian crises and longer-term challenges such as rising food prices and the impact of climate change.

Speaking in Doha, Qatar, at the end of a six-day trip that also included stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, Mr. Holmes said he was encouraged “by the clear evidence of common goals and shared principles” between the Gulf countries and the UN.

“There is a real opportunity for strengthening collaborative efforts between the Gulf countries and the international humanitarian community to achieve a more systematic, organized and prioritized approach to delivering emergency relief,” he said.

Mr. Holmes, who is also UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said the challenges were two-fold: crises and problems in individual countries, such as Somalia, Iraq, the occupied Palestinian territories, Kenya and Darfur, and wider issues such as rising food prices worldwide.

Unrest has been reported in many countries in recent weeks because of the cost of living, he said, while natural disasters are becoming more frequent in some countries because of the effects of climate change.

While in Doha Mr. Holmes met with Qatar’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmad Bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud, and other senior Government and non-government officials. He was also accompanied by Abdul Aziz Arrukban, the UN Special Humanitarian Envoy of the Secretary-General based in the Gulf region.

Mr. Arrukban praised the generosity of the Gulf countries in providing humanitarian assistance, both multilaterally and bilaterally.

 

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