Press Releases

    1 February 2002


    NEW YORK, 31 January (UN Headquarters) -- While on his first official visit to Kabul on 25 January 2002, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the appointment of Nigel Fisher as his Deputy Special Representative for Humanitarian Affairs in Afghanistan.

    Prior to this appointment, Mr. Fisher had been Regional Director for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in South Asia for the past two years and served as UNICEF’s Special Representative for the Special Subregional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries since September 2001. He has worked with UNICEF for over 20 years, in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as at UNICEF headquarters in New York.

    During 1998, he took leave from UNICEF and returned to his native Canada where, as United Nations Visiting Fellow at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, he advised the Foreign Minister on development of Canadian foreign policy regarding children in armed conflict and participated in the development of Canada’s strategy for its membership on the United Nations Security Council (1999-2000). He also led a joint Canada-Norway initiative to promote dialogue with Algeria on child rights and was active in the initiation of a trilateral programme of cooperation to support children exposed to extreme violence in that country.

    Prior to his sabbatical year in Canada, Mr. Fisher was Director of UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programmes for three years, responsible for oversight of UNICEF’s humanitarian activities worldwide. During this period, he visited many of Africa’s conflict zones to advocate for child rights and respect for children as zones of peace.

    In 1997, he chaired the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group of the Secretary-General’s Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs, overseeing the formulation of a series of recommendations which formed the basis for significant reforms in the organization and functioning of the humanitarian operations of the United Nations.

    Mr. Fisher has considerable experience in advocacy for children in zones of conflict. As UNICEF Special Representative for Rwanda, he led UNICEF post-war recovery operations in the Great Lakes region of Africa (Rwanda, eastern Zaire, western Tanzania and southern Uganda) in 1994-1995. In 1990-1991, he coordinated UNICEF’s emergency response in the Middle East during and after the Gulf War, and initiated UNICEF lead-agency operations in northern Iraq after the Gulf War. He has been UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, and Representative in Rwanda, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, and the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. He has also lived and worked in Nigeria, Mozambique, India and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

    Mr. Fisher has worked extensively in the field of basic education and early child development. From 1988 to 1990, he was Deputy Executive Secretary of the World Conference on Education for All, the global United Nations conference on basic education, which took place in Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990. He has published in the areas of basic education, child trauma recovery, child rights and protection of children in zones of conflict. He is a board member of several academic and philanthropic institutions in Canada, the United States and Norway, and past Honorary President of the Middle East Centre for Human Studies in Jordan.

    In 1998, Canada awarded Mr. Fisher the Meritorious Service Cross, in recognition of his contributions to the rights and protection of children.

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