UN Appoints Veteran Diplomat Colombano as Resident Coordinator in North Korea

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Appoint a successor quickly as the UN predecessor’s term expires
Equipped with expertise in international relations, negotiations, development finance, and law
Temporary residency at Thailand branch… “Expecting speedy entry into North Korea”

The Voice of America (VOA) reported on the 2nd (local time) that the United Nations appointed veteran Italian diplomat Joe Colombano as resident coordinator for North Korea.

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The office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a press release, “The new coordinator Colombano will begin his duties as of March 1 after receiving approval from the North Korean government.”

Coordinator Colombano is a veteran diplomat with more than 25 years of experience in international relations and negotiations at UN headquarters and in the field. He most recently served as the UN Resident Coordinator in Beijing, China.

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Prior to this, he served as the Director of Sustainable Development at the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York for nearly 10 years, and also served as a senior advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) Special Envoy for COVID-19 in Geneva.

Additionally, as an economist, he worked in the development finance field at the World Bank (WB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and studied at Harvard University in the US, University of Warwick in the UK, and the University of Hong Kong in China, where he experienced both Eastern and Western cultures.

This appointment follows the expiration of the term of former coordinator Prodi Moring in December last year. Former Coordinator Moring served in Thailand due to the North Korean authorities’ border blockade due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN Resident Coordinator in North Korea oversees the activities of five UN organizations in Pyongyang, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

According to BNN Breaking, Colombano is a person with extensive expertise in diplomatic strategy, development finance, and law, and is expected to play an important role in advancing the UN’s goals of peace, sustainable development, and humanitarian assistance in North Korea. Additionally, his leadership and expertise may contribute to opening new paths to dialogue and cooperation between North Korea and the international community.

Colombano will be working at the UN branch in Thailand for the time being.

The UN told VOA, “Due to COVID-19 quarantine measures, UN staff have not been stationed in North Korea since early 2021. Coordinator Colombano, along with most of the UN (North Korea) team, will temporarily reside at the UN regional headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, he said. “Discussions are underway to allow UN staff to return as soon as conditions allow.” .

In relation to this, Jerome Sauvage, former head of the UNDP Pyongyang office, said, “It is very good news that the UN Secretary-General appointed a new Resident Coordinator without a gap.” However, he emphasized that “if we cannot reside in North Korea, there will inevitably be major disruptions in our work,” and that he hopes that international organization employees will soon be allowed to enter North Korea as Western countries are seeking to restart their embassies in North Korea.

Source: Donga

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