SEOUL, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The United Nations Security Council has adopted guidelines aimed to facilitate humanitarian assistance to North Korea.
The Committee for United Nations sanctions said Monday that states, international and non-governmental organizations can request exemptions from sanctions on North Korea in their humanitarian assistance efforts.
According to media reports, the sanctions exemption guideline has been put forward by the U.S. last month. It recommends humanitarian assistance providers to submit a letter with details of their project to the U.N. and seek U.N. approval every six months.
The U.N. Security Council said the guidelines intend to "provide a clear explanation of its comprehensive humanitarian exemption mechanism" and assist states and organizations in "carrying out humanitarian assistance activities in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for the benefit of the civilian population of that country."
"We expect this will address difficulties in current humanitarian assistance activities for North Korea and further facilitate an international assistance," said an official of the Seoul's unification ministry to reporters, Yonhap said.
Stalled humanitarian assistance projects are expected to resume.
The South Korean government decided to offer $8 million last year to assist humanitarian assistance projects by international organizations, including the World Food Program and the United Nations Children's Fund. It delayed the funding as tensions rose following the North's missile and nuclear tests and tightening sanctions, according to Yonhap.
The funding for food aid and assistance for children and health will proceed along with the adoption of the U.N. guidelines, Yonhap reported, citing a government official.
According to the WFP, more than 10 million people suffer from malnutrition in North Korea. The country still has a high level of food insecurity due to declining agricultural production.
Food aid to North Korea fell by 23 percent from 9,055 tons from January to May last year to 6,994 tons for the same period this year, according to a WFP report. Nearly 70 percent of North Koreans depend on government rations that fall short to meet people's daily needs.