JUBA – The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for South Sudan and Head of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), Mr. David Shearer (New Zealand), has arrived in the country to assume his duties.
Mr. Shearer succeeds Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj, who completed her assignment at the end of November 2016, after serving for almost three years.
Mr. Shearer was met upon arrival at Juba International Airport by senior UNMISS officials led by Mr. Moustapha Soumaré, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political), who has been serving as Officer-In-Charge of the Mission.
Speaking on arrival, the new Special Representative said he was “looking forward to the assignment” which he acknowledged would be challenging, and indicated that he was arriving with a fresh and open mind and would spend time listening to what various stakeholders had to say.
Mr. Shearer noted that “the South Sudanese people deserve to have a state that is functioning and looks after them and is stable and provides for their peace and their prosperity’ adding that whatever the UN could do to contribute to that, he would be doing his best to make sure it happened.
Mr. Shearer brings to the position extensive political and humanitarian experience. Prior to taking up this post, he served as a Member of Parliament in New Zealand from 2009, resigning that post effective 31 December 2016.
The Special Representative has also previously served as the Secretary General’s Deputy Special Representative, Resident Coordinator, and Humanitarian Coordinator in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) from 2007-2009.
Prior to that, Mr. Shearer held several senior positions with the United Nations, including head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon; Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA); and Chief of OCHA in Belgrade, among other positions.
The envoy has also conducted various assignments with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Save the Children Fund, and the International Crisis Group, and is the author of numerous publications in the areas of conflict resolution and effective interventions for peace and humanitarian affairs. Born in 1957, he is married with two children, and holds an MSc. in Resource Management from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.