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Nandy assures Sri Lanka continued support of UN

At the meeting, President Sirisena noted key priorities of the Government and reiterated the need to work together in addressing such challenges. (Colombo Gazette) Outgoing UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka Subinay Nandy reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to the Government of Sri Lanka in continuing to progressively work together for the benefit of the Sri Lankan people.In February, Nandy, will take up his new post as Head of Asia-Pacific Division of the Department of Political Affairs in UN New York Headquarters. Nandy, concluded his assignment in Sri Lanka after a 4 year and 8 month term and called on President Maithripala Sirisena for an exit meeting, the UN office in Colombo said today. read more

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UN spent additional 25 million due to Israeli security procedures in Palestinian

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) released the figures after countries at a donor meeting in Amman asked the Agency to provide details surrounding the money diverted from its humanitarian aid operations. UNRWA said charges imposed by Israel for search procedures came on top of heavy losses caused by movement restrictions that have stopped staff reaching their places of work since the start of the Intifada in September 2000. “What we find unreasonable and unique are charges levied by Israel for searching consignments of food and medicine destined for the occupied Palestinian territory,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen told the meeting. “This amounts to a tax on humanitarian aid. This is just one of the many issues we have raised with the Israeli authorities in our ongoing dialogue aimed at improving the Agency’s humanitarian access.” The Agency said it has also been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more on repairs to its buildings that have been damaged during military operations. UNRWA recently submitted a claim for $535,000 in compensation to the Israeli Government just to cover the cost of building damage. According to UNRWA, the Agency lost 72,000 teacher-work days during the 2001-02 academic year because of movement restrictions imposed on its staff. In addition, in the first eight months of this year, the Agency lost 11,000 staff workdays at its health clinics. Despite efforts to redeploy staff so that they could work close to their homes and avoid checkpoints, the Agency’s 34 health clinics in the West Bank still lost a total of 340 treatment days. UNRWA said it has also incurred further costs because closures have forced the Agency to accommodate staff in hotels when they become trapped by curfews, while security procedures have forced it to use commercial trucking firms rather than use its own fleet. read more