United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 7 November 2019 the designation of Christian Saunders of the United Kingdom as Acting Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Mr. Saunders has over 30 years of experience in international affairs, much of it focusing on delivering results and overseeing major reforms leading to improved organizational effectiveness and efficiency. He previously served as Assistant Secretary-General for Supply Chain Management in the Department of Operational Support (2019), and as Assistant Secretary-General for Central Support Services in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (2018-2019). He served as the Director of the Office of the Under- Secretary-General for Management, where he was responsible for a wide range of issues, including coordinating duty of care for staff serving in countries affected by the Ebola virus and the deployment of Umoja across headquarters. Prior to this Mr. Saunders served as the Executive Officer for the Department of Safety and Security (2009-2013), the Chief of Coordination and Support Service in the Office of Information and Communications Technology (2005-2009) and as the Chief of the Procurement Service (2001-2005). Mr. Saunders served as a member of the high-level task force established by the Secretary-General to develop a strategy to improve the organization’s approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse.
Mr. Saunders also has significant humanitarian and field experience, having begun his United Nations career in 1989 with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Gaza. He also served in subsequent postings with UNRWA, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), peacekeeping missions and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Mr. Saunders is a graduate of Royal Holloway College, University of London and the University of Wales in the United Kingdom. Born in 1961, he is married and has three children.