UNGA75 extends Filippo Grandi’s mandate as head of UNHCR

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Filippo Grandi

NEW YORK/GENEVA, NOVEMBER 23 – The United Nations General Assembly has re-elected Filippo Grandi High Commissioner for Refugees until 30 June 2023, a further two-and-a-half-year-period.

The extension of Grandi’s mandate followed a recommendation by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres to the General Assembly. While the Secretary-General had intended to request the General Assembly to elect Mr. Grandi for a further term of five years, Mr. Grandi was agreeable, owing to personal reasons, to the shorter term.  Mr. Grandi is currently serving an initial five-year term as UNHCR’s High Commissioner.

“I am humbled, and grateful to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his support”, Grandi reacted to the decision on his Twitter account.

“I see it as a clear recognition of UNHCR staff’s efforts to protect and help the refugees, internally displaced and stateless people who are at the heart of what we do,” he added: “My UNHCR colleagues and I will keep working hard with refugees, displaced, stateless people worldwide”.

Filippo Grandi, a 63-year-old Italian national, is the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He was first elected by the UN General Assembly on 1 January 2016 to serve a five-year term after a 30-year career working in refugee affairs for the United Nations. Before becoming Commissioner, Mr. Grandi was engaged in international cooperation for over 30 years, focusing on refugee and humanitarian work.  He served as Commissioner-General of the United Nations Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, from 2010 to 2014, having been the organization’s Deputy Commissioner-General since 2005.  Prior to that, Mr. Grandi served as Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Afghanistan, following a long career first with NGOs and later with UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.

The Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, and his Deputy, Emanuela Del Re, congratulated the High Commissioner stressing that the extension was “well deserved for the exceptional work that Grandi is doing for refugees in the world: an example for all”. Francesco Rocca, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and of the Italian Red Cross added that “it is a great news for all the humanitarian community. Looking forward to continuing our work together. The IFRC and its 192 Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies are ready to strengthen our cooperation”.

Established in 1950, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of their plight. UNHCR has been twice awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its humanitarian work – in 1954 and in 1981. (@OnuItalia)