Outgoing U.N. Humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths Steps Down for Health Reasons After Three Years of Addressing Global Crises

Martin Griffiths, UN humanitarian chief, resigns due to health concerns

After nearly three years of addressing humanitarian crises around the world, including in Ukraine, Gaza, and Africa, Martin Griffiths is stepping down as the U.N. humanitarian chief for health reasons. Griffiths, who is 72 years old, contracted a severe case of COVID-19 in October and is still experiencing symptoms of long COVID. António Guterres commended Griffiths for his leadership and service to the United Nations and the humanitarian community in advocating for people affected by crises and mobilizing resources to address their needs.

Griffiths assumed the role of U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator in July 2021 amidst escalating global crises and diminishing funds for humanitarian aid. Prior to this position, Griffiths served as the U.N. special envoy for Yemen for three years.

Farhan Haq, the U.N. deputy spokesman, stated that Griffiths will continue in his role until the end of June to facilitate a smooth transition.

Throughout his career, Griffiths has held various roles in international humanitarian organizations, including serving as the first executive director of the European Institute of Peace, special adviser to U.N. special envoys for Syria, and deputy head of the U.N. mission in Syria during the early years of the conflict.

He was also director of the U.N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva in 1994, which preceded the establishment of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Later on he worked as founding director at Center For Humanitarian Dialogue with a focus on promoting political dialogue between governments and insurgents across continents such as Asia, Africa and Europe.

Overall Griffith’s commitment towards humanitarian efforts and conflict resolution throughout his career has been remarkable

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