North Korea's Prospects for National Rehabilitation
Andrew Natsios, Vice President
The evidence is that the famine is by no means over. North Korean macroeconomic indicators, including GNP decline, food production, food consumption requirements, limited foreign currency reserves with which to import more food, the inability of North Korea to get credit because of bad debts and the collapse of coping mechanisms of the average family translates into high morality rates this summer and early fall before the next harvest in late September and early October. To avoid the needless loss of live donor governments, the UN agencies and non-governmental organizations should focus on three interventions.
1. Before it is too late, donor governments, which have refused so far or made modest donations, should contribute towards the WFP appeal which is only 50% covered. More food aid should be concentrated in the urban areas on the east coast of the country and less in the capital city where too much food aid is going.
2. The public health emergency is killing many more people than starvation. Donor governments should support efforts by aid agencies to purify the public water supply in cities where the water system has broken down as unclean water is a major source of disease. The mass inoculation to prevent communicable disease campaign of UNICEF should be rapidly funded and completed as soon as possible.
3. Donor governments should respond to the UNDP agricultural rehabilitation appeal which is essential to stabilize food security in North Korea by introducing new agricultural research and technical expertise into the country.
Young Chun, acting Executive Director
The Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc.
The famine in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is far from over. The grain production in country this year is expected to meet less than half of the nation's needs. The severity of food crisis will be worse unless nature cooperates with adequate amount of rainfall in the next two months. Unless the international community expedites its aid of food and medical supplies this summer, numerous number of civilians will succumb to death primarily including the elderly, children, disabled, and pregnant women.
Our recommendations to avert the larger scale of humanitarian disaster in DPR Korea are:
- Donor governments should increase their pledges to meet the WFP appeal food aid levels and start to expedite the shipment of their aid this summer.
- WFP and donor governments should insist a greater portion of the food aid pledges is delivered to the eastern cities where the mortality rates are so much higher than the capital.
- More funding and support should be provided to public health interventions given that a large number of people dying from malnutrition-related, infectious diseases, the spread of which has been aggravated by the collapse of the public drinking water and sewerage treatment systems.
- Donor governments and NGOs should generously support the UNDP/DPRK agricultural modernization package which was announced at the Geneva roundtable on DPR Korea in May.
- FAO, donor governments and NGOs should expedite the shipment of fertilizer, the most critical factor to have a successful crop this fall. With a third of the fertilizer available now, this fall crop will be seriously constrained.
- U.S. government should allow American food processors and farmers, pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment firms to engage with civilian counterparts in DPR Korea. President Ronald Reagan said, "the freer the flow of world trade, the stronger the tides of human progress and peace among nations." American engagement policy designed not only for humanitarian NGOs but American businesses can help significantly alleviate the suffering of innocent DPR Korea children, disabled, and elderly, the primary victims of the deadly famine this summer and in the future.
Monday, June 22, 1998 - 8:30am - 1:00pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
The Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc., The Korea Society, and World Vision Relief and Development, Inc, invite you to participate in a half-day, off-the-record forum addressing the current crisis in Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and assessing prospects for food, public health, and agricultural rehabilitation in North Korea. The three-year-long food emergency in DPR Korea has allowed about 100 foreign aid professionals and about a dozen NGOs to stay in country to help as of today. The most recent sign of DPR Korea's engagement with the global community is the first historic Roundtable Meeting co-hosted by DPR Korea and the United Nations Development Programme in Geneva in May to discuss long-term measures to rehabilitate the country by the year 2,000.
Specialists on the DPRK will join with governmental and non-governmental aid practitioners working with and in the DPRK to provide updates on the scope of the chronic crisis, and to address rehabilitation challenges and opportunities as well as strategic policy implications. Forum participants will include congressional staff, government representatives, representatives from the NGO community, and area specialists. The off-the-record forum will be followed by a media briefing at 12:30pm.
8:30am - Registration
9:00am - The Food Crisis and Prospects for Agricultural Rehabilitation: U.S. Perspectives
Mark Kirk, Counsel, Committee on International
Relations, US House of Representatives
Richard Ragan, Director for DHH, National Security Council
Ed Reed, Country Director for North Korea, World Vision
Young Chun, acting Executive Director, Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc.
Kathleen Newland, Senior Associate of International Migration Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
10:45am -The Food Crisis and Prospects for Public Health Rehabilitation: International Perspectives
Milton Amayun, Medical specialist, World
M. Aslam Aziz, Minister Counselor of Development Affairs, European Union
Antoine Gerard, Program Dev. Officer, Medecins Sans Frointiers/Doctors Without Borders
Joelle Tanguy, Executive Director, Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders
Ven. Pomnyun, Executive Director, Korean Buddhist Sharing Movement
12:15am - Closing Remarks
Andrew Natsios, Vice President, World
"Counter-conventional Approaches to Relief and Development in North Korea"
12:30pm - Media Briefing: North Korea's Prospects for National Rehabilitation
Andrew Natsios, Vice President, World
Mark Kirk, Counsel, Committee on International Relations, US House of Representatives
Young Chun, Acting Executive Director, Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc.
Institute for Strategic Reconciliation,
The Korea Society
World Vision Relief and Development, Inc.
For information contact:
Kathleen Brown, World Vision (202)
David Kim, The Korea Society (202) 293-2174
Jeeyoung Eun, The Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc. (301) 570 3948, or ISR_usa@hotmail.com