UN appoints Gaza humanitarian co-ordinator following Security Council vote

Sigrid Kaag to oversee humanitarian relief shipments as part of adopted resolution

Dutch politician Sigrid Kaag has been appointed by the UN to oversee humanitarian relief shipments into Gaza. AP
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The UN on Tuesday announced the appointment of a co-ordinator to oversee humanitarian relief shipments into Gaza as part of a Security Council resolution adopted on Friday to scale up aid.

“United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres today announced the appointment of Ms Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands as senior humanitarian and reconstruction co-ordinator for Gaza,” the UN said in a statement.

Former Dutch deputy prime minister Ms Kaag “will also establish a United Nations mechanism to accelerate humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza through States which are not party to the conflict”, the statement said.

The announcement follow's last week's Security Council resolution which called for “urgent steps to immediately allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and also for creating the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities”.

Amid global outrage over a rising Gaza death toll in 11 weeks of war between Israel and Hamas and a worsening humanitarian crisis in the enclave, the US and Russia abstained to allow the 15-member Security Council to adopt a resolution drafted by the UAE.

Ms Kaag, who also served as the Netherlands' first female finance minister, announced in July that she would leave government because of the increasingly “toxic” environment for politicians in her country.

Before that, she previously held a number of senior UN jobs including its special co-ordinator for Lebanon, the Joint Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN mission in Syria.

Ms Kaag also served in several senior positions with the UN children's fund, the International Organisation for Migration and the agency for Palestinian refugees.

The UAE's ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh welcomed the appointment of Ms Kaag.

“We are confident that Ms Kaag’s knowledge and experience will help ensure the swift and full implementation of the resolution, including through the monitoring and verification of humanitarian deliveries and the creation of a UN mechanism to accelerate aid into Gaza," she said in a statement.

The United States said it looks forward to coordination "on efforts to accelerate and streamline the delivery of life-saving humanitarian relief to Palestinian civilians in Gaza," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Updated: December 27, 2023, 5:57 AM