June 13, 2024

UN Humanitarian Chief’s Legacy: Martin Griffiths Resigns After Three Years of Tireless Work in Addressing Global Crises

2 min read
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths to resign due to health issues

Martin Griffiths, the renowned humanitarian leader, has announced his resignation from his role as U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator after three years of tireless work in addressing global crises such as those in Ukraine, Gaza, and Africa. The news was announced on Monday by the United Nations, which commended Griffiths for his exceptional leadership and service to the UN and the humanitarian community in advocating for those affected by crises and mobilizing resources to meet their needs.

Griffiths, 72, had contracted a severe case of COVID-19 in October and is still experiencing symptoms of long COVID. Despite this setback, he continued to dedicate himself to his role as head of the UN’s humanitarian arm until the end of June to ensure a smooth transition. Prior to taking on this position, Griffiths had served as the U.N. special envoy for Yemen for three years and showcased his expertise in negotiating with international leaders across different countries.

Throughout his distinguished career spanning over 40 years, Griffiths has held various positions within the UN and worked closely with international humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, and Action Aid. He began working as an assistant secretary general at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations before moving on to become director-general of DFID (Department for International Development) under Tony Blair’s government. In 2004, he became director-general of Oxfam International before joining UNICEF in 2011 as executive director. His most recent position was that of director-general of IRC (International Rescue Committee), where he led efforts to provide aid to people affected by conflicts worldwide.

Griffiths’ work has been recognized widely across the globe for his compassionate approach towards people affected by crises and his ability to bring together diverse stakeholders towards achieving common goals. His departure from the UN marks a significant loss for the global humanitarian community but also paves way for new leadership that can continue this crucial work.

In conclusion, Martin Griffiths played a vital role in advocating for individuals impacted by crises during his tenure at the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Office. His exceptional leadership skills will be greatly missed as he steps down due to health reasons after nearly three years in office.

The U.N Secretary-General António Guterres paid tribute to Martin Griffiths saying “Martin’s unwavering commitment to humanity has been an inspiration not only within our organization but around the world.” The Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq added “We are deeply saddened about Martin’s decision but we understand it was made after careful consideration.”

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