Top UN post in Africa for South African


South African Nick “Fink” Haysom is the UN’s new Special Representative for Somalia and head of the world body’s assistance mission in the Horn of Africa country.

He takes over from Michael Keating of the United Kingdom on October 1.

Haysom is a lawyer with a long international career with a focus on democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes. He is currently Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, a position he has held since 2016. Prior to this, he served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from 2014 to 2016 and as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014. He was also Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General from 2007 to 2012 and Head of the Office of Constitutional Support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq from 2005 to 2007.

Earlier in his career Haysom served in the South African government, including as Chief Legal and Constitutional Adviser in the Office of the President from 1994 to 1999. He was involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as chair of the committee negotiating constitutional issues from 1999 to 2002 under the facilitation of the former president Nelson Mandela. He was principal adviser to the Mediator in the Sudanese Peace Process from 2002 to 2005.