U.N. agency to continue aid provisions to North Korea

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (UPI) — The United Nations development agency says there are no plans to suspend North Korea projects in 2017.

The UNDP issued the statement on Thursday after reports surfaced the agency is to stop sending aid to the impoverished country.

Plans for North Korea projects are being drafted for 2017 and beyond, a UNDP spokesman said, according to Voice of America.

The goal is to either extend the 2011-15 plan, which expired last year, or to draft a new proposal. Both programs need the permission of the UNDP executive board, the spokesman said.

Any plan is to be discussed first with the UNDP’s North Korea office and other officials then submitted for approval by 2017, when the regular session of the executive board convenes in January.

UNDP has been involved in providing aid to North Korea’s agricultural development since 1981, and in the areas of food security, climate change and the environment.

The Food and Agricultural Organization, another U.N. agency, has stated North Koreans are seriously malnourished and that 18 million people are still susceptible to food shortages.

Food insecurity is responsible for chronic malnutrition and poor health, and North Korea’s food shortage stems from long-running issues in the country’s agriculture, which include insufficient arable land, soil degradation due to intensive cultivation and scarcity of quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.

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