Geert Cappelaere served most recently as Senior Advisor in the Office of the UNICEF Executive Director. He led the development of a new strategy to further strengthen UNICEF’s engagement in and with Europe, with all parts of UNICEF and the family of National Committees active throughout Europe. He served as UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa from 2016 to October 2019. He joined UNICEF in 1999. Other positions held in UNICEF were Representative in Sudan (2012 – 2016), Representative in Yemen (2009-2012), Representative in Sierra Leone (2005–2009), senior advisor child protection at New York Headquarters (1999-2000), senior advisor for the Central and Eastern European Regional Office (2000-2002) and UNICEF's first Regional Child Protection Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa (2002-2005).
Before joining UNICEF, Mr. Cappelaere was Chair of the Belgian Royal Commission on Child Abuse and Exploitation and affiliated to the University of Gent. He is author of a number of internationally renowned publications, including 'Children deprived of their Liberty: Rights and Realities'. He contributed to the drafting of several international legal instruments in the area of child protection and children’s rights. He is still today a much-solicited advisor in these areas, for governments and civil society on all continents.