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View more articles by Colin Zwirko
Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
The French NGO Première Urgence Internationale (PUI) was earlier in the month granted its third UN sanctions exemption for humanitarian aid work in North Korea, a UN Committee website showed over the weekend.
In a letter uploaded to the website of the UN Security Council (UNSC) 1718 Committee on Friday, PUI was granted permission to ship sanctioned items to the DPRK for projects aimed at improving goat milk production.
The projects are intended, according to a request letter dated July 26, “to improve children’s nutritional status and households’ resilience, through the reinforcement of goat rearing practices in South Hwanghae province, DPRK.”
PUI is required to deliver the exempted items within six months from the exemption’s effective date of August 9, and states in the annex to the letter that shipments are planned for October.
Listed items include materials to build sheds as goat shelters, solar panels and lights for the shelters, and fencing materials for goat enclosures.
Other items will go towards building capacity to produce goat’s milk and cheese, such as solar-powered refrigerators, stainless steel kitchen utensils, and buckets with metal handles.
Many of the items are prohibited for export to North Korea due to UNSC sanctions on metallic components, electronics, and machinery.
The total cost of items in the list is just over 110,000 euros ($121,999).
According to the PUI website, the organization began work in North Korea in 2002 and has since 2007 focused on food security and nutrition.
It has since 2012 worked on diversifying nutrition and diets of children, according to their website, and projects “for the promotion of goat farming and of goat’s milk” starting in 2016.
Goat farming is a priority for North Korea, the NGO said, because “a glass of goats’ milk contains up to a third of the recommended daily amount of protein for children and it is produced throughout the hunger season.”
A report from early 2018 said the PUI conducts training at collective farms and households and “provides them with equipment to maintain all stages of production leading up to consumption of dairy products.”
“The objective is to improve fodder quality, farming conditions, herd improvement and veterinary health, milk production and preservation, and lastly distribution and hygiene in its consumption,” it added.
Training “to introduce participants to dairy processing techniques” for goat’s milk has in recent years been conducted in Taesong, Tappyong, Sinkwang and Unyang counties, a report from February this year said.
The organization works out of a permanent office in Pyongyang and is supported by the European Commission.
It works alongside other European Union Programme Support (EUPS) units which have also received sanctions exemptions for humanitarian projects in the country in recent months.
This week’s PUI exemption follows others granted by the UN in the past few weeks, with projects aimed at combating tuberculosis, addressing food shortages, and improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) provision recently receiving a green-light from the committee.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Première Urgence Internationale