Panama proposes to host regional hub for UN agencies

27 September 2011

Panama has proposed setting up a regional logistics hub for the United Nations that will serve as a base to allow the quick distribution of humanitarian assistance to those in need across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Deputy Foreign Minister Francisco Álvarez de Soto told the General Assembly’s annual general debate today that a regional hub – to be based in the capital, Panama City – would strengthen coordination between the 16 UN agencies already operating in the country.

“The national Government will finance this project, which will be a unique model of best practices in sustainable construction in Latin America and the world,” he said.

Mr. Álvarez de Soto said the combination of his country’s “privileged geographic position” and the logistical infrastructure that already existed in Panama City had over the past decade attracted a large presence of humanitarian organizations.

The proposed hub “shall possess the necessary agreements to expedite the entry and exit of humanitarian aid destined to help in the event of natural or other disasters, such as the one that took place in Haiti… and where humanitarian aid is still very much needed.”

Mr. Álvarez de Soto said such a project also offered evidence that “small, lower-middle income developing countries are also providing international cooperation, even in these times of economic difficulty.”

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