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M A R C H 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
25
level of operational confidence.
DPRK authorities recently agreed to
a set of monitoring principles that are
the most stringent of any during our
15 years of working in the country.
The terms provide for unprece-
dented access to markets, random
access to homes and institutions, and
the employment of Korean-speakers
on WFP’s international staff, things
all previously forbidden.
Conditions Today
Under the WFP’s “no access, no food” policy, we are
able tomonitor food supplies as they arrive, move through
warehouses, are transported to final distribution points
and get into the hands of recipients. Our staff there in-
cludes Korean-speaking food aid monitors, something
previously not allowed.
Another significant improvement is that WFP field of-
fices in Hamhung, Wonsan and
Chongjin are now connected by
fiber-optic cable, allowing full data
connectivity and the use of WFP’s
food commodity tracking software.
In addition to feeding millions
of North Koreans, the United Na-
tions’ long, consistent engagement
has produced a variety of intangi-
ble benefits. Perhaps the most im-
portant of these is the fact that
DPRK officials have been forced to comply with a wide
range of international norms in order to receive outside
assistance.
As North Korean society begins to open up, this body
of experience may prove to be invaluable. So while our
primary mission there is to save lives, I’m hopeful that the
United Nations is also laying the groundwork for the
DPRK’s next phase: peaceful engagement with the rest of
the world.
F
OCUS
Our primary mission is to
save lives, but I’m hopeful
that we’re also paving
the way for the country’s
peaceful engagement.