Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Appointment of U.N. special representative to Afghanistan brings opportunity for better relief coordination

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s recent appointment of Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide as his special representative to Afghanistan presents a new opportunity to reorganize and coordinate the sprawling and disjointed relief efforts in the war-torn nation, Zalmay Khalilzad says in an op-ed in Thursday’s New York Times. Khalilzad is the United States permanent representative to the United Nations.

With a rebuilding effort that involves, among other entities, 30 national embassies, four development banks, several U.N. agencies, and around 2,000 nongovernmental organizations, there is no shortage of international support. However the lack of communication between these separate groups is a real problem, severely limiting their effectiveness on the ground. That is why the appointment of Eide is so important, Khalilzad says, explaining that Eide’s position empowers him to coordinate civilian assistance with military efforts, while also bridging the gap between international organizations and the Afghan government. If these varied efforts are fully organized, Khalilzad believes Afghans will finally be able to take full advantage of the assistance that they have been provided.

For the full op-ed piece, click here.


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