On 18 March 2020, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. He took up his post with UNRWA on 1 April 2020. Prior to his appointment to UNRWA, he served, from August 2015, as the Deputy UN Special Coordinator (UNSCOL) and as the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon. He has over 30 years of professional experience, including in leadership positions with the United Nations, the private sector and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He has extensive experience in humanitarian assistance and international coordination in conflict and post-conflict areas at senior levels, including through his assignment to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia as Deputy Special Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, from 2013 to 2015. He joined the United Nations in Iraq in 2003 and held a number of senior positions since, both at Headquarters in New York, and in Angola, Somalia and the occupied Palestinian territory.
Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Lazzarini worked with Union Bancaire Privée in Geneva as Head of the Marketing Department. From 1989 to 1999, he worked with the ICRC as the Deputy Head of Communications in Geneva, Head of Delegation in Rwanda, Angola, and Sarajevo, and as a delegate in Southern Sudan, Jordan, Gaza, and Beirut. He started his professional career in 1987 as an economist with the Canton of Bern in Switzerland. He is a graduate of the University of Neuchatel and of the University of Lausanne.