Filippo Grandi has been appointed as the new UN refugee chief, and is replacing Antonio Guterres. He is tasked with handling the refugee crisis. His name was selected in a shortlist of candidates including the former Danish Foreign Minister Helle Thorning – Schmidt. The other candidates were Achim Steiner, the German-Brazilian head of the UN Environment Program, and Jasmine Whitbread, the British-Swiss head of Save the Children.
The 58-year old diplomat from Milan has been proposed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. His candidature will have to be endorsed by the UN General Assembly next week. The act is just a formality.
Mr. Grandi has a long career in the international cooperation world. Among his 30 years of commitment to humanitarian operations, he has been the head of the UNRWA from 2010 to 2014, and deputy envoy to the UN aid mission in Afganistan. He was also involved in UNHCR efforts in other countries such as Sudan, Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Grandi’s appointment is a recognition of his skills and of the commitment that Italy has made over the years in the cause of refugees
His job will start on January 1st. He will oversee a staff of more of 10 thousand people and offices in 123 countries. Mr Grandi is facing one of the most challenging tasks ever: handling 60 million people worldwide who have been driven from their homes by wars, persecution and climate change.
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