Guterres appoints new UN humanitarian chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced the appointment of Martin Griffiths as Undersecretary-General for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.

Griffiths, who currently serves as Guterres’ special envoy for Yemen, will succeed Mark Lowcock as the world body’s humanitarian chief, Xinhua news agency reported.

Both Griffiths and Lowcock are British.

Griffiths will continue to serve as special envoy for Yemen until a transition has been announced, Guterres’ press office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Griffiths brings extensive leadership experience in humanitarian affairs, both strategically and operationally, as well as senior-level experience in international conflict resolution, negotiation and mediation, said the press office.

Griffiths served as adviser to three special envoys of the secretary-general for Syria and deputy head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria.

He was the first executive director of the European Institute of Peace and founding director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva. He has worked within the British diplomatic service, the UN, international humanitarian organizations and nongovernmental organizations.

Griffiths holds a Master’s degree from the University of London and is a qualified barrister.