The Office of Internal Oversight Services is currently investigating allegations of misconduct in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The Secretary-General is committed to acting, as appropriate, once he receives the findings and recommendations. The Secretary-General continues to consider the work undertaken by UNRWA as essential to Palestinian refugees. He calls upon Member States and other partners to remain committed to UNRWA and its services and continue their support for the crucial work performed by the Agency.
With the aim to support UNRWA and ensure operational continuity, the Secretary-General has decided, in coordination with UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, to appoint Christian Saunders of the United Kingdom as Acting Deputy Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at the level of Assistant Secretary-General.
Mr. Saunders brings to the position over three decades of experience in humanitarian and international affairs with a strong focus on delivering results and overseeing major reforms leading to improved organizational effectiveness and efficiency. He is currently Assistant Secretary-General for Supply Chain Management and previously served as Assistant Secretary-General for the Office of Central Support Services.
Mr. Saunders began his United Nations career in 1989 with UNRWA in Gaza and subsequently in senior United Nations roles as Chief of the Procurement Service (2001-2005), Chief of the Coordination and Support Service in the Office of Information and Communications Technology (2005-2009), Executive Officer for the Department of Safety and Security (2009-2013) and Director of the Office of the Under Secretary-General for Management (2013-2017). He also served in various capacities with 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. He is married and has three children.