UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) – U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon yesterday made British envoy to Australia Valerie Amos his new aid chief, replacing fellow Briton John Holmes, who coordinated relief efforts after Haiti’s earthquake in January.
Baroness Amos, Britain’s first black cabinet minister, became High Commissioner (ambassador) to Australia after holding a variety of government posts. She served under former prime minister Tony Blair from 2003-2007.
As the world body’s new head of the high-profile Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), she will manage fund-raising and delivery of emergency food and supplies to disaster-stricken areas.
The departure of Holmes, a former British ambassador to France, had been public knowledge for months. He will join England’s Ditchley Foundation in September as its director, the conference center near Oxford announced in February.
Holmes has been U.N. aid chief since 2007. He has traveled widely, including to conflict zones, and has been noted for his frank comments, including a leaked email to other U.N. officials criticizing aspects of the Haiti aid effort.
The major powers are covetous of top jobs at the United Nations. The current head of the political department is an American and the head of peacekeeping is French.
Ban also announced yesterday he was appointing Yuri Fedotov, the current Russian ambassador to Britain, to the post of executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, based in Vienna.
Fedotov, a former Russian deputy foreign minister, has in the past been attached to Moscow’s U.N. mission in New York. He replaces Antonio Maria Costa of Italy, a long-time U.N diplomat.