CAIRO: The United Nations country office is looking into the possibility of establishing an office in Upper Egypt.
Although project studies are underway, the new resident UN coordinator James Rawley says he can t disclose a definite location or opening date for the office.
Being new to the post, Rawley says he can t take credit for all of the preparations done for the project. Rawley has worked in several development-related UN programs and has served as the resident country coordinator for the organization in Yemen. He started his work in Egypt less than two months ago.
A group representing three development programs working under the United Nations has already made a visit to the area to study the various options.
When established, the office won’t include representatives of each UN subsidiary but would instead have staff to follow up on the various projects targeting Upper Egypt. Other goals include expanding the reach of development programs in the area.
This falls under the general UN goals for the country that Rawley highlighted earlier this week. Decreasing disparity, especially of the regional type, where societal, economic and educational gaps characterize the relationship between governorates in Upper Egypt and Cairo, is one of the targets of UN local operations.
Gender equality also falls under the same category. Rawley notes the efforts of the government in this regard.
The government s efforts and the cooperation of civil societies have also proved helpful in the process of achieving other goals that Rawley described as interrelated.
The first goal is concerned with improving the performance of the government in reducing poverty and enhancing its accountability in this regard. Another goal pertains to unemployment and its consequences, including child labor. Human rights also have a place on the list of priorities.
While some might find human rights irrelevant to development goals, Rawley, explains, they are the basis. He hopes to spread the concept of human rights by the year 2011.
Achieving these goals requires the participation of all sectors, he adds. The government needs to continue its pro-reform policies, he says, and the private sector should also take a role. Even the media would participate, he continues, in keeping the UN staffers focused on their commitments. The programs aim to improve the capabilities of the state and its citizens in the development process.
Does it sound like too ambitious a plan? Maybe, but Rawley says that so far he is optimistic at the pace of work.