The United Nations has appointed a seasoned Dutch diplomat to oversee vital aid shipments into war-stricken Gaza, filling a crucial role outlined in a recent Security Council resolution.
Selected by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Sigrid Kaag—formerly the Dutch finance minister and deputy prime minister—will serve as the senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza.
In response to the Security Council resolution’s call for a coordinator responsible for consulting involved parties on aid deliveries and ensuring the humanitarian nature of the cargo, Guterres emphasized Kaag’s role in facilitating, coordinating, monitoring, and verifying the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Kaag’s responsibilities also include establishing a mechanism to expedite aid through nations uninvolved in the conflict. With significant experience as a veteran U.N. diplomat, Kaag previously led an international team overseeing the disposal of Syria’s chemical arsenal.
Despite the resolution refraining from explicitly demanding a ceasefire, it urges immediate, safe and expanded humanitarian access, striving to set conditions for sustainable peace.
Following weeks of negotiations and vote delays to prevent a U.S. veto, the resolution moved forward, highlighting the urgent need to address the escalating humanitarian crisis amidst deadly Israeli bombardments of Gaza.
The toll from the Israeli incursion includes a devastating death count of over 20,000, predominantly women and children, alongside the displacement of over 1.2 million people and the destruction or damage of nearly half of Gaza’s structures. While the U.S. and Israel oppose a ceasefire, citing potential benefits to Hamas, the U.S. favors intermittent pauses in fighting to safeguard civilians and secure the release of hostages held by Hamas.