October 12 - Issue 32 - Secretary-General Appointments in August,September and October

New York, October 12, 2007 – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made ten high-level appointments since late August. At least two key Representative posts remain vacant: the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Afghanistan), and the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Below are details on the recent appointments.

Recent Appointments

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan

· The Secretary-General appointed Ashraf Qazi of Pakistan as his Special Representative (SRSG) for Sudan on September 4. Ban consulted with the government of Sudan in late August about the appointment to ensure that Qazi would be accepted. Sudan reportedly rejected other candidates. Reportedly, it is normal practice to gain approval from the government.

· Qazi replaces Jan Pronk of the Netherlands, who was made to leave the country in October 2006 after commenting that the Army had violated UN resolutions.

· Qazi worked with Pakistan’s diplomatic service and served as his country’s ambassador to the United States, India, China, Russia, East Germany and Syria. He joined the UN in July 2004, to serve as the Special Representative in Iraq following the death of envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello in the bombing of UN Headquarters in Baghdad. Qazi’s mandate in Iraq expired on August 7.

· Qazi formally begins his new SRSG post on November 4. Based in Khartoum, Qazi will head the UN’s mission in Sudan, which includes 10,000 UN peacekeepers that monitor a peace agreement between the government and forces in Southern Sudan. The mission is also focused on the situation in Darfur and post-conflict peace in the South.

· Regarding questions about the long delay in filling the post after Pronk’s departure, the Secretariat said that it had an acting Special Representative in the meantime, as well as a Special Envoy for the peace process (Jan Eliasson), as well as a UN/AU joint special representative for Darfur. However, reportedly the lack of a permanent appointment prevented other vacancies from being filled.

Deputy Special Representative for Sudan

· Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh has been appointed as Ban’s Deputy Special Representative for Sudan, and the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

· Haq previously served as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq

· The Secretary-General appointed Staffan de Mistura of Sweden and Italy as his Special Representative for Iraq on September 5.

· De Mistura replaces Ashraf Qazi, who was recently appointed as Ban’s Special Representative for Sudan after his mandate in Iraq expired on August 7. In August, the Security Council voted unanimously to expand the U.N. role in Iraq.

· Ban consulted with the government of Iraq about the appointment to ensure that de Mistura would be accepted.

· De Mistura has worked at the UN for over 30 years, mainly in humanitarian operations, including as the U.N. envoy in southern Lebanon and was the deputy representative in Iraq from 2005-2006. He speaks several languages, including “some” Arabic, Swedish, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. He is also the director of the U.N. Staff College in Turin, Italy.

Deputy Special Representative for Iraq on Humanitarian, Reconstruction and Development

· The Secretary-General appointed David Shearer of New Zealand as his Deputy Special Representative for Iraq on Humanitarian, Reconstruction and Development on August 22. He will also serve as the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq.

· Shearer succeeds Jean-Marie Fakhouri of Lebanon.

· Shearer has experience leading humanitarian operations for the UN, including in Albania, Rwanda and Liberia, as well as with NGOs and the New Zealand Government. His most recent position was as head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Jerusalem. He was also the Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon from July to October 2006, dealing with support for the 900,000 people displaced during the conflict there.

Special Representative for Somalia

· The Secretary-General appointed Ahmedou Ould Abdallah of Mauritania as his Special Representative for Somalia on September 6.

· Abdallah is currently the head of the UN Office in West Africa.

· Abdallah succeeds Francois Lonseny Fall of Guinea.

Deputy Special Representative on the Rule of Law for Liberia

  • The Secretary-General appointed Henrietta Joy Abena Nyarko Mensa-Bonsu of Ghana as his Deputy Special Representative on the Rule of Law for Liberia on August 22.
  • She succeeds Luiz Carlos Da Costa of Brazil.
  • Mensa-Bonsu’s experience is with a range of international law issues. Most recently she served as a professor of law at the University of Canada and a member of the Police Council of Ghana. She has published on criminal law, juvenile justice and children’s rights. She has held various national and international posts, including on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child, and the International Criminal Court (ICC). She was a member of the National Reconciliation Commission of Ghana.

Force Commander of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)

  • The Secretary-General appointed Zhao Jingmin of China on August 27.
  • He is the first Chinese force commander for a UN mission.
  • Zhao succeeds Kurt Mosgaard of Denmark.

Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate

  • The Secretary-General appointed Mike Smith of Australia on August 31.
  • The Executive Director position is at the Assistant Secretary-General level.
  • Smith succeeds Javier Ruperez of Spain
  • Smith most recently served as Australia’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. Previously he held various senior posts in Australia’s diplomatic service.

Chair of Advisory Group to the Peacebuilding Fund

  • The Secretary-General appointed Marjatta Rasi of Finland as the first chair of the Advisory Group to the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) on September 5.
  • Rasi is currently the Under-Secretary of State for Development in Finland.
  • The post of Chair is a two-year term, and it is served in the Chair’s individual capacity, not national capacity.
  • The Fund is responsible for helping to meet the immediate financial needs of countries emerging from conflict. The three countries currently receiving funding from the PBF are Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, and Sierra Leone.
  • The PBF’s Advisory Group is responsible for advice and oversight of the Fund’s performance and management and the speed and appropriateness of its resource allocations.

Military Adviser, Department of Peacekeeping Operations

  • The Secretary-General appointed Ahmad Shuja Pasha of Pakistan as the Military Adviser, Department of Peacekeeping Operations on October 8.
  • The General Assembly had agreed to upgrade this position to the level of Assistant Secretary General in March 2007 as part of a larger peacekeeping reform package, due to the demands on military components of peacekeeping operations.
  • Pasha succeeds Per Arne Five of Norway.
  • Most recently, Pasha has been Director-General of Military Operations at the Pakistani Army Central Headquarters, which included commanding peacekeeping deployments.

Remaining Vacancies

Ban has not yet filled the posts of:

  • Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Afghanistan), and
  • Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

An official list of all current Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General is available here.

 

Appointment Practices

Recently the Secretariat has been questioned for not circulating shortlists about high-level appointments before the final decision is made. It is unclear whether this is a matter of policy, and whether it represents a change from past practices.

For example, reporters asked on August 17 whether a shortlist for SRSG for Iraq was available. Ban’s spokesperson responded, “if there is a shortlist, it would not be communicated to you until the decision is taken.” This seemed to contrast with practices from former Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s tenure. A few days later, the spokesperson stressed that there was no new policy for filling appointments. Nonetheless, no shortlist was made available.