28 February 2008

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note





United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Said Djinnit of Algeria as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).  He replaces General Lamine Cissé who has been serving as Officer-in-Charge of UNOWA since September 2007 when Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah of Mauritania was reassigned as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia.

Said Djinnit most recently served as the Commissioner for Peace and Security at the African Union.  He has also served in various positions in the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now African Union, including as OAU Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs.  During his career with this body, he has spearheaded efforts by the General Secretariat/Commission in supporting peace processes on the continent, including Ethiopia-Eritrea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Comoros, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sudan and Somalia.

He led efforts of the General Secretariat/Commission in conceiving and operationalizing important OAU/AU initiatives, including:  the Protocol on the African Union Peace and Security Council (2002); the Conceptual Framework on the African Standby Force and Military Staff Committee; the Draft Common African Defense and Security Policy; the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament; the Declaration on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government (2000); the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; and the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA).  He has also spearheaded efforts towards the implementation of this Declaration, in particular, the creation of a CSSDCA Unit within the General Secretariat/Commission.

Special assignment and achievements include:  his lead role in the African Union Commission efforts for the deployment of the first ever African Union peacekeeping operation under the mandate of the Central Organ for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (the African Mission in Burundi); he led the Organization of African Unity team which participated in the proximity talks between Ethiopia and Eritrea that culminated in the signing by the two parties of the Algiers agreements of June and December 2000; and he has served as Chairman of the OAU Secretariat Task Force on the drafting of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (1999-2000).

Mr. Djinnit has served in various diplomatic missions for his native Algeria, including in Brussels, as Chargé d’Affaires of the Algerian Embassy, as well as Deputy Head of Mission in Addis Ababa.  He holds a diploma of the “Ecole Nationale d’Administration” (Diplomacy).  He has also studied at the Centre for International Relations Studies, University of Brussels, and at the Institute of Political Affairs, University of Algiers. 

Mr. Djinnit was born on 7 June 1954.  He is fluent in Arabic, French and English.  He is married with three children.

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For information media • not an official record