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

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has announced that Martin Griffiths, the U.N.’s humanitarian chief, will be stepping down for health reasons after nearly three years of addressing humanitarian crises in Ukraine, Gaza, and Africa. Griffiths is 72 years old and shared that he contracted a severe case of COVID-19 in October and is still dealing with long COVID. He took on the role of U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator in July 2021, amidst escalating global crises and dwindling funds for humanitarian aid.

Griffiths, a veteran British diplomat and experienced negotiator, began his career working as a British diplomat and contributed to various international humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, and Action Aid. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to advocating for people affected by crises and mobilizing resources to address their needs. In 1994 to 2010, Griffiths held various roles in Geneva including director of the U.N.’s Department of Humanitarian Affairs and founding director of the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue where he focused on developing political dialogues between governments and insurgents across Asia, Africa, and Europe. From 2014 to 2018, he served as the first executive director of the European Institute of Peace where he worked closely with three U.N special envoys for Syria. Before becoming U.N’s Special envoy for Yemen in 2018 until assuming the U.N.’s top humanitarian position in April 2021

By Samantha Jones

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