United Nations and its partners raise record funds for 2006 North Caucasus programs, as access to Chechnya significantly improves

Moscow, 7 December 2006. – The launch of the 2007 Inter-Agency Transitional Workplan for the North Caucasus took place in Moscow today with the participation of Russian federal and regional government representatives, donors, NGOs and UN agencies. The document is the second annual Inter-Agency Transitional Workplan for the North Caucasus. It represents the joint strategic framework of twenty one agencies (9 UN and 12 NGOs), and their appeal for nearly US$ 79.6 million to carry out a consolidated program of assistance and protection in 2007 in support of government efforts.

In launching the Workplan, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. and the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. in the Russian Federation noted that the 2006 transitional assistance plan upon which it was built has proven to be successful. Development assistance has been integrated with humanitarian action, partnerships with government and local civil society have begun to mature, and donors have supported the Workplan by funding the participating agencies.

The Humanitarian Coordinator a.i., Mr. Carel de Rooy, stressed that the 2006 Transitional Workplan so far has mobilized over US $56 million in contributions and commitments; that is US $10 million more than for any year since the first inter-agency appeal was launched in 1999. Although some of the traditional humanitarian donors reduced their funding in 2006, new funding for recovery and development has appeared. Most important is the EC’s 20 million Euro Tacis contribution to UNDP, UNICEF and WHO.

Along with the improvement of the funding situation, improved access to Chechnya has enabled much better needs assessment and program implementation and monitoring. It has also provided opportunities for improved consultation and coordination with the government and civil society partners. A total of 126 one-day missions have already been carried out this year, and the overall number of missions in 2006 is likely to reach 136, which is more than five times as many UN days in Chechnya as in 2003.

The 2007 Inter-Agency Transitional Workplan for the North Caucasus, which documents the ongoing shift in balance from relief activities to development projects, states, however, that basic humanitarian relief and protection is still needed for some of the vulnerable population, particularly the displaced and those in rural areas. The Workplan acknowledges that federal and regional authorities are making determined efforts to strengthen and rehabilitate social infrastructure and services, and to boost socioeconomic recovery, and this should over time help reduce human vulnerability. However, the region continues to be one of the poorest in the Russian Federation, although the economic situation is improving.

Further information on humanitarian and recovery programs in the region is available from:
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Tatiana Khabarova, +7-095-956-6405
Office of the UN Resident Coordinator: Victoria Zotikova, +7-095-787-2115