Foreword by the UN Resident Coordinator a.i.
The people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) remain caught in a protracted cycle of humanitarian need that, notwithstanding tense geopolitical dynamics, necessitates prioritization and action from the global community. The 2020 Needs and Priorities plan targets the provision of humanitarian assistance to 5.5 million people most in need, for which humanitarian partners in DPR Korea are appealing for a total of $107 million to provide life-saving assistance. This response plan has been developed by humanitarian agencies, under the globally adopted enhanced Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC) approach, and has strictly prioritized the provision of comprehensive support to those most vulnerable, namely children under-five and pregnant and lactating women. The enhanced Humanitarian Programme Cycle approach has been applied for the calculation of the sectorlevel and overarching people in need (PiN) figures. Consequently, the PiN in 2020 is 10.4 million, taken from the largest sector caseload in nutrition, decreasing from the 10.9 million in 2019.
In-country humanitarian operations in DPR Korea are a critical lifeline for millions of people in this protracted humanitarian situation. Notably, 10.1 million people suffer from food insecurity and are in urgent need of food assistance. Food insecurity in the country is driven by a lack of access to modern agricultural equipment and techniques; and is amplified by recurrent natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. The prevalence of under-nutrition and malnutrition are a major concern for communities in DPR Korea. An estimated 10.4 million people are in urgent need for nutrition support, threatening a generation of children with reduced development and life opportunities. In addition to food insecurity and malnutrition, needs analysis data for the upcoming year reveals continued and acute humanitarian need across other sectors, including access to quality and essential health services, clean water and sanitation. Lack of access to safelymanaged drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities further contribute to the malnutrition rates, placing women and children at a higher risk of illness and death. Currently, an estimated 8.4 million people lack access to safely-managed drinking water services. In addition to the 2020 Needs and Priorities plan, the Humanitarian Country Team, in conjunction with the Government, has developed a Country Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) for COVID-19 and aims to ensure that indirect humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable people and communities are mitigated through the continual prioritization of food security, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and are covered therein.
Despite the presence of health facilities through DPR Korea, there are critical shortages in essential medical equipment and life-saving medicines. The needs analysis further outlines that more than 8.7 million people have limited access to quality health services.
I take this opportunity to commend all humanitarian agencies for their commitment and dedication to providing critical lifesaving services to the most vulnerable, despite the operational challenges and delays, some of which are the broader unintended consequences of the sanctions imposed on the country. In addressing humanitarian needs in 2019, donors support for UN agencies and INGOs allowed humanitarian partners to reach 2.5 million people with humanitarian aid. International monitoring of aid reaching recipients was central to humanitarian programming and evaluated that 66 per cent of the people targeted with assistance were reached with some form of aid. Importantly, 94 per cent of the targeted children under-five were reached with necessary assistance, however, their needs could not be fully covered due to insufficient funding. Low levels of funding further imposed the need for humanitarian partners to scale back their programmes, while others were forced to terminate their programmes and presence in DPR Korea.
I am deeply grateful for the continued support that we have received from donors in addressing humanitarian needs in DPR Korea, including from the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF).
However, increased funding is needed to make a sustainable impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people in the country. Without the necessary support, we risk losing the advances we have made in recent years. If we are to limit and mitigate the impact of food insecurity of the most vulnerable in the country, including women and children, the time to act is now. I urge all potential donors and stakeholders to distinguish between broader geo-political considerations on the one hand, and the urgent humanitarian needs of everyday communities in the country on the other. Their support to the 2020 Needs and Priorities plan will be vital and is the only way to enable all humanitarian agencies to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to people with acute vulnerabilities.