Overview of Needs and Assistance in DPRK 2012

from UN Country Team in DPRK
Published on 29 May 2012

Executive Summary

The people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) endure poor health care, high levels of maternal and child malnutrition, political and economic isolation, recurrent natural disasters and international increases of food and fuel prices. The population’s high vulnerability is due to the failure to appropriately and systematically address the underlying risk factors of food insecurity, limited or weak coping mechanisms, and extremely poor sanitation and safe water access.

While international humanitarian assistance has made considerable progress towards meeting some of the basic needs, 16 million people continue to suffer from chronic food insecurity (at various degrees), high malnutrition rates, and deep-rooted economic problems. Inadequate medical supplies and equipment make the health care system unable to meet basic needs, while sanitation, water supply and heating systems continue to fall into disrepair. Young children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. The country is further challenged by climate change, poorly developed agricultural techniques and technology, periods of localised floods and harsh weather conditions with loss of crops agricultural fields as a result.

In 2012, the strategic objectives of the UN Agencies in DPRK are to:

  • Support life-saving humanitarian assistance in nutrition, health, water & sanitation and agriculture while providing essential support to address underlying developmental drivers of the chronic challenges that increase vulnerabilities,

  • Support dialogue with all partners to analyze and advise on policies that impact long-term vulnerabilities,

  • Continue to work on improving the operational conditions and infrastructure to harmonise and widen the access for UN agencies so as to better determine the needs and monitor the impact of assistance provided,

  • Strengthen policy-support and assistance to collection, analysis and dissemination of credible data for evidence-based targeting of interventions,

  • In collaboration with partners, maintain a standing capacity to support national response in the event of a natural disaster.

Although limitations on access persist, and opportunities to conduct comprehensive needs assessments are uneven, it is possible to implement effective assistance programmes that address many of the most critical needs, provided the necessary funds are made available. The Government views on linking more favourable operating conditions to the amount of resources being brought into the country is unlikely to change in the near future, despite strong advocacy on this by humanitarian agencies. The UN system will continue to apply the strategy of previous years upholding the principle of ‘No Access-No Aid’, and will continue to seek wider access for humanitarian activities.

To respond to key humanitarian priorities, UN agencies require $198 million for planned humanitarian activities in 2012. As of 1 May 2012, $74.9 million has been contributed - corresponding to 37.8 per cent of the overall requirement.