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Your questions to the UN's humanitarian chief

Charlotte Attwood | 17:35 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

Sir John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the UN, has just returned from his big trip to Africa. Now is your chance to put your questions to him.


Sir John Holmes travelled through Senegal, Niger and DR Congo focusing on the humanitarian needs of those countries. Do you live in one of those countries, if so, what did you think of his trip? Perhaps you live elsewhere, are there more pressing needs where you are?

What is your view of the UN's humanitarian work in Africa?

Send us your questions with your phone number and you may get the chance to put them to Sir John Holmes yourself, live on BBC Africa Have Your Say at 16GMT on Tuesday 11 May. You can also send an SMS message to + 44 77 86 20 20 08 or send your contact details to africa@bbc.co.uk.


  • Comment number 1.

    UN Humanitarian Chief's visit to Africa is more of PR and media tuned to influence donor aid for th hand outs. Why is UN or any donor agency not working towards food production in Africa? Why is the alleged world powers not stoping sales of arms and ammunitions to war lords to bring peace?
    It is time UN reviews its strategic partnerships to enhance local sustainability rather than dependency. Africa is capable of sustaining itself but requires peaceful, supportive and conducive environment.

  • Comment number 2.

    Whilst I am the biggest supporter of UN's mandate for the " the right to protect"on humanitarian ground, I strongly feel, the issue of state sovereignty still overrides the UN's right and ability to protect innocent civilians. How do you overcome this situation especially in Africa where innocent civilians are subjected to barbaric cruelty of unimaginable scale in the quest for power by conflicting parties?


  • Comment number 3.

    I think Sir John Holmes is a good man by embarking on this travels but dose it bring a permanent change?? I this is {NO} the hunger,poorverty and shame of the African leaders and rebels remains therefore,i'm of the opinion that these showing of poor areas in Africa should come to an end because they are making it more of a caricature than they are making it to have a change,I see no changes at all.

  • Comment number 4.

    I know without any doubt that you do a good job, particularly in continents like Africa and Asia. I am also confident international aid reaches these impoverished places in good shape. However, we have one little problem-you do leave these places at some stage in course of your duties. How do you intend to supervise the people in whose hands you leave responsibility when you depart? I will have you know the heads usually squander all the money and resources meant for the poor. Then they line up and give 'reports of expenditure' in the long run: Common practice in almost all aspects of African leadership (truth be told). By the way before anyone shoots, I am very African. Watched it happen almost all my life . . . If they don't use it on their relatives, they start businesses.How do you intend monitor this massive greed?

  • Comment number 5.

    What measures are in place to ensure that aid gets to its intended beneficiaries and what is being done to minimise corruption within the aid system.

  • Comment number 6.

    Admittedly the UN has much of its humanitrian resources concentrated in Africa, trying to solve the numerous crisis going on there. Does the organisation recognises the prblems in Africa are re-occuring ones and that there is the need to try and solve them. There will be no need for food, tent and peace keepers in the future.

  • Comment number 7.

    We need mechanisms that will help us monitor people in positions of authority and report them to the international body that can take action against them. Are you available and accessible? If I have a strong case of abuse and exploitation and slavery in a private school in Africa how can I reach the UN?
    Stanley, PH, Nigeria

  • Comment number 8.

    The UN can only do as little as it can. The International Community strategy should have been to encourage good governance and strengthen the institutions. Africa has resources to fee its people with little help from outside, the International Community aim to drop some aid here and there is not sustainable in the long run.

  • Comment number 9.

    To develope a stove for use in an African mud hut is a backward step for Africans who need cheap ELECTRICITY to cook with. It seems hypocritical to me that we highly developed western countries are holding back Africans based on the bad science of global warming. Increased developement will reduce the birth rate, increase job prospects and most importantly cure the poverty problems. Increased wealth that follows will provide clean water and improve health care for all Africans. We cannot deny them this.
    So environmentalists get of your pedestals and look at the problems that you have caused for this long forgotten continent.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think the UN and other humanitarian organizations has a lot to do and stop some of these sufferings in Africa and other LDC because, my questions are: Why does the UN, as world power, don't stop the importation of arms into these poor nations? Why can't they (UN) encourage African leaders to promote the culture of good governance in the continent? And why can't them emback on food production to meet the suferrings of these vulnerable group?
    I believe if these questions are answered appropriately, then African will free from this bondage.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Humanitarian Aid should also involve the countries that have a spill over effect of such war torn areas. In Zambia we have hosted manny refugeees that are in need of humanitarian aid yet we receive very little assistance in comparison to situations like in KOSOVO. We also need capacity building for such catastrophies unlike concentrating on countries involved. In Zambia right now,most of the refugees are refusing to return to Democratic Republic of Congo. We also need thes humanitarian aid.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think humanitarian organizations enjoy the existence of needys as it is the cause for their existence! Otherwise, it would have been better to alleviate the continuous problem of a small village than providing food aid to a large community every time. Is it not?

  • Comment number 13.

    I do not think so UN secretarat visit worth to Africa.Humanitarian crisis are the main results of political crisis in most African countries.But UN has no power to stop political crisis such as war in Africa. They only send Peacekeeper to safegard civilian but not effective measure. Most of humaniterian aids are under the supervision of dictatorial regime and used for political supporters only.In Ethiopia money offered for humaniterian aid used for purchasing weapons but UN silent? Why?


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