Mark Lowcock, the head of Britain’s International Development Department, has been appointed as United Nations’ new humanitarian aid chief by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Mr. Lowcock will replace Stephen O’Brien.
About Mark Lowcock:
Since the beginning of his career in year 1985, Lowcock has held various senior posts at Britain’s department of international development. Since 2011, he has been the permanent secretary of the department.
- As UN Humanitarian Chief, he will lead UN’s ongoing relief efforts in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, the Central African Republic and the Lake Chad region.
- Lowcock will be the 4th British national to hold post of UN Humanitarian Chief since year 2007. His candidature for this post was strongly backed by British Prime Minister Theresa May. Britain’s former foreign secretary David Miliband was also eyeing this post, but did not have British government’s backing for the same.
New Appointments made by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres:
Lowcock is the first UN aid chief appointed by Antonio Guterres after he assumed office in January 2017.
- In February 2017, Guterres appointed Jean-Pierre Lacroix of France as UN peacekeeping chief. He also retained Jeffrey Feltman of US as head of UN’s political affairs for another year.
- So far it appears that Antonio Guterres is adhering to the practice followed by his predecessors’ of filling top UN posts with officials from the five permanent Security Council countries — US, Britain, France, China and Russia.
- It will be interesting to see his pick for new counter-terrorism chief, who will most likely be from Russia, as well as his choice for head of UN management, who will lead the much talked about reforms.
United Nations Appeal for Help:
In January 2017, at Helsinki Conference on Supporting Syrians and the Region hosted by Finland, United Nations and partners appealed for $4.63 billion aid to help Syrian refugees and communities hosting them.
- Earlier in December 2016, United Nations appealed for a record $22.2 billion aid for year 2017 which will be required to help people hit by conflicts and disasters around the world.