9 June - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Augustine Mahiga, Tanzania's Ambassador to the United Nations, to serve as his top envoy for Somalia, which is in the midst of one of the worst humanitarian and political crises in the world.

The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) brings many years of both government and UN experience, including in conflict management, mediation, and humanitarian and recovery/development activities.

“Mr. Mahiga has lengthy and pertinent experience in the Horn of Africa and other parts of the continent, which will be invaluable in his new position,” according to a news release announcing his appointment.

Prior to representing the Tanzanian Government at the UN, Mr. Mahiga worked in various capacities at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

His roles included serving as Chief of Mission to Liberia, Coordinator and Deputy Director of the humanitarian and refugee crisis in the Great Lakes Region, and UNHCR Representative in India, Italy, Malta, the Holy See and the Republic of San Marino.

Mr. Mahiga succeeds Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah of Mauritania, who has served as the UN's envoy for Somalia since September 2007 and helped facilitate the Djibouti Peace Agreement, on which current peace and reconciliation efforts in the country are based.

The Secretary-General acknowledged Mr. Ould-Abdallah for his work on the recently adopted Istanbul Declaration that serves “as a political pact between the international community and the Somali people on political, security, development and reconstruction issues.”

The Declaration was the culmination of a three-day international conference in May that was co-hosted by the UN and Turkey, a year after a similar summit was held in Brussels.