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NEW YORK - 15 Jan 2021

UN boss appoints Nicholas Haysom as UNMISS head

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has today announced the appointment of Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as his Special Representative for South Sudan and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). 

Haysom succeeds David Shearer of New Zealand. Shearer has served in this position since his appointment on 13 December 2016. He succeeded Ellen Margrethe Løj of Denmark, who completed her assignment at the end of November 2016. 

Guterres said he was grateful for Shearer’s exemplary leadership of UNMISS during the time of critical developments and challenges in South Sudan. 

Mr. Haysom who is currently the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Southern Africa, a position he has held since October 2020, is a lawyer with a long international career with a focus on democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes. 

He has also served as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sudan from 2019 to 2020. Haysom has also been Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Somalia and Afghanistan and Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, and Head of the Office of Constitutional Support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq. 

Mr. Haysom also served as the principal adviser to the Mediator in the Sudanese Peace Process between 2002 to 2005. He was involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as Chair of the committee negotiating constitutional issues from 1999 to 2002 under the facilitation of late former President Nelson Mandela, and served in the Government of South Africa, including as Chief Legal and Constitutional Adviser in the Office of the President from 1994 to 1999. 

The new UNMISS boss holds a law degree from the Universities of Natal and Cape Town in South Africa and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Cape Town and the New York Law School.