UN appoints Dutch diplomat humanitarian coordinator for Gaza


By Cecilia Ologunagba

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed a veteran Dutch diplomat and politician, Sigrid Kaag as the Senior Humanitarian Coordinator for Gaza

Guterres announced the appointment in a statement on Tuesday.

Kaag, who is Holland’s outgoing Deputy Prime Minister, will facilitate, coordinate, monitor and verify aid consignments for Gaza, in line with a recent Security Council resolution.

She will also establish a mechanism to accelerate humanitarian relief shipments through States that are not party to the conflict.

Kaag, who is expected to take up the assignment on January 8, 2024, has experience in political, humanitarian and development affairs, as well as diplomacy.

She is the first Holland’s Deputy Prime Minister and first woman Finance Minister, and was Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, as well as Foreign Affairs.

Kaag has also held senior positions in the UN system, including Special Coordinator for Lebanon, and the Special Coordinator, Joint Mission of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN in Syria.

Her other posts included Assistant Secretary‑General, UN Development Programme, and UNICEF’s Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa.

Prior to that, Kaag had served in several senior positions with UNICEF, the International Organisation for Migration, and the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

On Friday, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2070 which, among others, demanded for immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to Palestinian civilians throughout the Gaza Strip.

The resolution requested the Secretary-General to appoint a Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator and called for the “expeditious” establishment of the UN mechanism to ramp up aid distribution. (NAN)