Biographical Note



    12 June 2003






NEW YORK, 11 June (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Nigel Fisher of Canada as Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), at the Assistant Secretary-General level.


Mr. Fisher has been serving since February 2002 as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction in Afghanistan. In this capacity, he has been responsible for direct oversight of United Nations humanitarian and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan and for their coordination with the Government and with the international assistance community.


Earlier in his career, Mr. Fisher was Regional Director for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in South Asia (1999-2002), working on development partnerships for children, which included a number of private sector initiatives, and served as UNICEF’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries in the immediate aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001.


Mr. Fisher 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 the United Nations and returned to his native Canada, where, as United Nations Visiting Fellow at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and adviser to the Foreign Minister, he advised the 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 the protection of civilians, especially children, in zones of conflict. As UNICEF Special Representative for Rwanda, he led that agency’s post-war recovery operations in the Great Lakes region of Africa (Rwanda, eastern Zaire, western Tanzania and southern Uganda) from 1994 to 1995. In 1990 to 1991, he coordinated the agency’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 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, leadership and impunity, child trauma recovery, child rights and protection of children in zones of conflict. He has been 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.






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