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UNDP Administrator briefs UN General Assembly on situation in South Eastern Europe

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UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown spoke at an informal session of the UN General Assembly last week on the challenges that threaten stability in south-eastern Europe and on UN system activities in the region. He said that large percentages of the populations in most countries and provinces continue to suffer from some form of human insecurity - be it political, social, economic or personal. "The decade-old issue of displaced populations - which affects almost all countries and provinces in the region - is not yet solved," Mr. Malloch Brown said. "More than three million people have been displaced over the past 10 years, a figure that represents 13 per cent of the population of the region, excluding Bulgaria and Romania." The UNDP Administrator said that lasting peace and stability in the area could only be achieved by tackling the entire range of interconnected humanitarian and socio-economic problems. "Over the past decade, but especially in 1999, the United Nations system has responded with energy and determination to the different dimensions of the crises in south-eastern Europe by supporting interventions in the areas of peace-keeping/peace-building, humanitarian and post-humanitarian support, and social and economic development," he said. "But while these are encouraging achievements, the situation in many parts of the region remains precarious at best."
Mr. Malloch Brown made clear that in terms of aid there has been a disparity in favour of emergency relief operations in the region. This disparity, he said, has meant that "United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes responsible for longer term development activities have been, on the whole, inadequately supported by donors. Life-saving assistance is a top priority, he said. "But without adequate international resources to tackle both the root causes of socio-economic and political instability in the region, and the devastating human consequences of the various conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, long-term peace and development in south-eastern Europe will remain a distant goal."