Acting UNRWA Commissioner-General

UN Secretary-General Appoints Christian Saunders as Acting UNRWA Commissioner-General


On 06 November 2019,  Mr. Christian Saunders was appointed Acting Commissioner-General of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.  Prior to his appointment to UNRWA, Mr. Saunders served as the Assistant Secretary-General, Office  of Central Support-Services in the Department of Management and as the Assistant Secretary-General for Supply Chain Management in the Department of Operational Support.

Mr. Saunders has over 30 years of experience in international affairs, much of it focusing on delivering results and overseeing major reforms leading to improved organizational effectiveness and efficiency. From 2013 to 2017, he served as the Director of the Office of the Under Secretary-General for Management, where in addition to his regular duties,  in 2014 he was called upon to coordinate the duty of care for all staff serving in countries affected by the Ebola virus and in 2015 to coordinate the deployment of organization’s ERP system - UMOJA-  across UN Headquarters. He has also served in other senior managerial roles, including as Executive Officer for the Department of Safety and Security (2009-2013), the Chief of Coordination and Support Service in the Office of Information and Communications Technology (2005-2009) and as the Chief of the Procurement Service (2001-2005). 

Mr. Saunders also has significant humanitarian and field experience and began his career with the Save The Children Fund (UK) in the Sudan and then Mozambique and his United Nations career with UNRWA in Gaza.  He also served in subsequent postings with UNRWA, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), peacekeeping and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

A graduate of Royal Holloway College, University of London, and the University of Wales in the United Kingdom, Mr. Saunders is married with three children.