United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Volker Türk of Austria as Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. He will succeed Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond of Chile, who has been appointed Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Preparations for the Commemoration of the seventy-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations. The effective handover will take place in July.
Reporting to the Chef de Cabinet, Mr. Türk will ensure coherence in the strategic analysis provided to the Secretary-General by the political, peacekeeping, sustainable development, humanitarian, human rights and rule-of-law portfolios in the Executive Office. He will chair the Deputies Committee and serve as the Secretary to the Executives Committee and the Senior Management Group, respectively. He will also liaise with the Secretary to the Chief Executives Board to ensure coherence with the system.
Having served as Assistant High Commissioner for Protection in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva since 2015, Mr. Türk brings with him extensive change-management experience and strategic vision. He has 30 years of expertise in the field of international protection of refugees and stateless persons, advocacy and humanitarian work more broadly. He has been leading UNHCR’s global protection activities and overseeing the development and implementation of protection and solutions policy with Governments and other actors, and in UNHCR’s operations around the world. Most recently, Mr. Türk played a key role in the development of the Global Compact on Refugees.
He served in key UNHCR headquarters positions, including Director of the Division of International Protection from 2009 to 2015; Director of Organizational Development and Management in the Executive Office leading UNHCR’s structural and management-change process from 2008 to 2009; and Chief of Section, Protection Policy and Legal Advice, from 2000 to 2004, instrumental in the global consultations process and the development of the Agenda for Protection. Mr. Türk also occupied various positions with UNHCR around the world, including as Representative in Malaysia; Assistant Chief of Mission in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively; Regional Protection Co-ordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and in Kuwait.
Having completed his thesis on UNHCR and its mandate, Mr. Türk holds a doctorate in international law from the University of Vienna. He was a research assistant at the University’s Institute of International Law and at the Institute of Criminal Law, University of Linz, Austria, where he earned a Master of Laws degree. He has published widely on international refugee law and international human rights law.