In response to the United Nations Security Council’s resolution last week, calling for the “immediate” and “large-scale” delivery of aid to the Palestinian territory, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Dutch Minister Sigrid Kaag as the Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza.
Sigrid Kaag, the outgoing Minister of Finance in the Netherlands, will assume her role on January 8, according to the UN statement. The appointment comes amid a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with aid reaching a minimum due to ongoing Israeli airstrikes on the densely populated coastal strip.
Kaag’s responsibilities will include facilitating, coordinating, overseeing, and verifying the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Additionally, she will establish a UN mechanism to streamline the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza through non-conflict-involved states, as stated by Guterres’s spokesperson.
Having served as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the Netherlands since January 2022, Kaag brings a wealth of experience to the role. Her previous positions at the UN include serving as the Special Coordinator for Lebanon and the Joint OPCW-UN Mission in Syria.
The recent UN Security Council resolution called for the “safe and unimpeded provision of large-scale humanitarian assistance” but did not demand an immediate cessation of hostilities. The conflict in Gaza erupted when the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,140 casualties, mostly civilians. In response, Israel launched extensive airstrikes, followed by a ground invasion, resulting in a total of 20,915 deaths, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, controlled by Hamas.