Filippo Grandi of Italy was today elected by the United Nations General Assembly as the next United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for a period of five years beginning on 1 January 2016.
A statement from the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly noted that he was elected “by acclamation.” He will take over from Antonio Guterres of Portugal.
Immediately after the election, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Assembly’s action, and expressed his utmost gratitude to Mr. Guterres “for his tireless efforts and dedication in protecting refugees, displaced persons and stateless people and for bringing the plight of the most vulnerable, and their pursuit of a dignified existence, into the centre of the United Nations agenda.”
Last week, following consultations with regional groups of Member States, Mr. Ban informed the Assembly, in a statement, of his intention to appoint Mr. Grandi to this position, leading the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Mr. Grandi was Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from 2010 to 2014, and it’s Deputy Commissioner-General from 2005 until 2010.
He served as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and has a long-standing career with UNHCR, notably as Chief of Mission in Afghanistan and Chief of Staff in the High Commissioner’s Executive Office.
His vast UNHCR field experience includes various positions in Sudan, Syria, Turkey and Iraq, having also led emergency operations in Kenya, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen.