United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 15 January 2021 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). He will succeed David Shearer of New Zealand to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his exemplary leadership of UNMISS during the time of critical developments and challenges in South Sudan.
Currently the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Southern Africa, a position he has held since October 2020, Mr. Haysom is a lawyer with a long international career with a focus on democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes.
From 2019 to 2020, Mr. Haysom served as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sudan. From 2018 to 2019, he was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission to Somalia (UNSOM). He also served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from 2014 to 2016, and as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014. From 2007 to 2012, he served as Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, and from 2005 to 2007, as Head of the Office of Constitutional Support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq.
From 2002 to 2005, Mr. Haysom was the principal adviser to the Mediator in the Sudanese Peace Process. 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.
Mr. Haysom earned a degree in law from the Universities of Natal and Cape Town in South Africa. He also received the honorary doctorates from the University of Cape Town and the New York Law School.