|Meeting the Humanitarian Challenge - UNV's Work Between Conflict and Development (United Nations Volunteers, 44 p.)|
|UNV humanitarian action in the field: Effort and impact|
Being on the scene places UNVs in a good position to draw wider attention to the plight of the people affected, and to help in working out durable solutions, moving the focus forward to rehabilitation and recovery. Much of this is facilitated by UNDP's central role in advancing rehabilitation and development, and by its extensive field presence and support.
Whilst one approach lies in the "continuum" from emergency relief through rehabilitation to reconstruction and development, another lies in the necessity to work from conflict towards sustainable peace dynamics through effective conflict resolution. This is a prerequisite to underpinning sustainable democratisation and peace-building. Several UNV Specialists are presently working along these lines on UNDP-funded projects in parts of former Yugoslavia and in Mozambique.
Bearing in mind UNDP's commitment to Sustainable Human Development, UNVs are involved in capacity-building projects in such countries as Somalia and Bosnia. The UNV programme portfolio reflects this philosophy, in that Sustainable Human Development is an approach that is pro poor, pro jobs, pro democracy, pro women and pro children.
For instance, a UNV Orthopaedic Technician from Sri Lanka, on a one year assignment with UNICEF in Liberia, rebuilt from scratch the Benedictine Workshop and Rehabilitation centre (for children, women and adults) which had been completely destroyed by the war. At the outset of the UN Volunteer's mission, there was an increasing number of amputees and war victims in Monrovia. In addition to the physical rebuilding of the orthopaedic workshop, he conducted an orthotics and prosthetics training course for students. He also held monthly evaluation examinations and refresher courses for permanent staff to improve the overall standard of professionalism at the Rehabilitation centre. Some of the graduates of the Benedictine Rehabilitation workshop have found jobs which involve training local staff in hospitals and other health centres throughout Liberia. This is in itself confidence- and capacity-building at local level.
Whilst one approach lies in the "continuum" from emergency
relief through rehabilitation to reconstruction and development, another lies in
the necessity to work from conflict towards sustainable peace dynamics through
effective conflict resolution
Another UNV specialist, an experienced community social worker who previously served with UNHCR in Sarajevo, now serves on a UNDP project, implemented by the UN Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, designed to ease social tensions and reintegrate displaced Croats and Serbs in their home villages of western Slavonia. This is part of a presently UN Protected Area called Sector West, in Croatia. The UNV specialist is based in Pakrac, a small town brutally destroyed in 1991, including the churches of its different denominations and works closely with UNPROFOR who have successfully organised a programme for Serbs and Croats to return to over ninety villages.
In a presentation to UNV staffin Geneva, Mr. James Gustave Speth, Administrator of UNDP, stated that " The way forward to Sustainable Human Development lies in the comprehensive mandate of the United Nations Charter, a mandate for peace, security, development and human rights. Furthermore, it is a process of growth which creates opportunities for people to exercise their choices and realise their full economic potential. Therefore, we must continue to assist programme countries in their endeavour to strive for and to achieve Sustainable Human Development." UNV clearly reflects this outlook by virtue of its response to programme country requests.
UNDP has utilised funds from its Special Programme Resources to enable UNV specialists to support humanitarian work, e.g. in drought relief in Southern Africa, which integrates into a wider framework oriented to lasting human development. As the UN's volunteer agency, UNV also benefits from frequent interaction with UNDP Headquarters, especially on issues of human development. The UNDP Humanitarian Programme office plays a focal role in this respect.
UNDP has utilised funds from its Special Programme Resources to
enable UNV specialists to support humanitarian work, e.g. in drought relief in
Southern Africa, which integrates into a wider framework oriented to lasting