David Shearer to Lead UN Mission in S Sudan
New Zealand lawmaker David Shearer, 59, who has led UN aid efforts worldwide has been named UN mission chief in South Sudan, one of the world’s toughest peacekeeping jobs.
Shearer, who will end a seven-year political career, served as UN deputy envoy in Iraq from 2007 to 2009, following UN assignments in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, Rwanda, Liberia and the Balkans. He is expected to take up the new role at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) early next year, succeeding Ellen Margrethe Loj of Denmark.
The United Nations has some 14,000 peacekeepers in South Sudan, where a civil war has been raging since December 2013.
In a statement announcing Shearer’s appointment, UNMISS said he would bring “extensive political and humanitarian experience” to the role.
Shearer, currently Labour MP for Mount Albert and party spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Energy & Consumer Affairs, was Labour Party leader from December 2011 to September 2013.
Labour leader Andrew Little said Shearer’s appointment was “a huge credit to him and to New Zealand”.
“He remains the best foreign affairs minister we will never have had. He will be missed,” Little said.
Shearer will resign from Parliament on 31 December.
Original article by AFP, Bangkok Post, December 8, 2016.