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UN Appoints A New Zealander To New Mission In Iraq

UN Appoints A New Zealander To New Mission In Iraq

By Andreas von Warburg

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the appointment of a New Zealander, David Shearer, as the new Deputy Special Representative for Iraq. He will be in charge of humanitarian, reconstruction and development and will act as United Nations Resident Coordinator in Iraq.

David Shearer, who replaces Jean-Marie Fakhouri of Lebanon, served until recently as head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in Jerusalem, a post he has held since 2003.

The New Zealander has many years of experience leading humanitarian operations for the United Nations, as well as years of service with non-governmental organizations and the New Zealand Government. He served as the Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon during the conflict from July to October 2006. In this capacity he provided leadership and strategic direction, with the country team, in support of the 900,000 people displaced during the conflict.

Before these postings, Mr. Shearer was a Senior Adviser to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in 2002 and an Adviser to the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2000 to 2002. He was the Chief of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Belgrade in 1999, Senior Humanitarian Adviser in Albania in 1999, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations in Rwanda in 1999 and the United Nations' Senior Humanitarian Affairs Adviser in Liberia in 1995.

Very few New Zealanders have reached top level positions of the United Nations. Other high-level officials are Ross Mountain, Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Jan Beagle, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management.

Another New Zealander, David Mace, became a member of the United Nations' compensation commission in the wake of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

In 1997 on David Mace's retirement as a senior partner of Ernst and Young in Hong Kong he was appointed a Commissioner of the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva. The Commission reported directly to the UN Security Council and it dealt with the largest reparations ever assembled following an armed conflict - namely the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.

The UN Compensation Commission sat for eight years and awarded claims by almost every country in the world. The total claims amounted to US$333 billion. He was appointed as New Zealand Freemasons' Grand Master for the period 2004 – 2006. David Mace recently requested to sit on an international committee which will oversee the awarding of Contracts for the rebuilding of Kuwait's infrastructure.

Since February 2006, the United Nations has appointed New Zealander Judge Kenneth Keith as a member of the UN International Court of Justice. Another New Zealander, Major-General Clive Lilley, was replaced recently as Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine by an Australian, Major General Ian Campbell Gordon.

Ban will soon announce the new Special Representative for Iraq to replace Ashraf Jehangir Qazi of Pakistan, whose mandate ceased early this month. An Italian, Gianludovico de Martino di Montegiordano, and a Lebanese, former Minister Ghassan Salame, have been rumored as possible candidates along with Staffan de Mistura of Sweden, who is a former Deputy Special Representative for Iraq.

ENDS


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