Mark Lowcock of the United Kingdom began his tenure today as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“The work of humanitarians around the world saves lives and transforms the life-chances of millions of people,” Mr. Lowcock said. “It is a privilege to take on this important role to advocate on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people when the number of those needing assistance is at its highest since the end of World War II.”
“Brave aid workers across the globe often work in dangerous places. I will join others in ensuring they are kept safe. I will also work closely with them to make humanitarian response more effective and efficient – at a time when it is needed most,” he said. Mr. Lowcock succeeds Stephen O’Brien, also of the UK.
“I reiterate the Secretary-General’s expression of gratitude for Mr. O’Brien’s excellent work, dedication and commitment to the United Nations and global humanitarian action,” said Mr. Lowcock.
The new Emergency Relief Coordinator brings to the position more than 30 years of experience leading and managing responses to humanitarian crises across the globe, as well as in strategic leadership in the international development arena. His previous post was Permanent Secretary in the UK’s Department for International Development.
Based in New York, Mr. Lowcock begins his tenure as several protracted crises in Africa and the Middle East are deteriorating and climate-induced emergencies, sometimes combined with violent conflict, continue to wreak havoc on vulnerable communities. At the same time, UN-coordinated response plans remain severely underfunded.
“There are a staggering 142 million people in need of aid and protection in the world today – but there are also countless organisations and individuals able to help, and donors willing to support our efforts. Together, we must ensure that we leave no-one in need of humanitarian assistance behind,” said Mr. Lowcock.