The United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock will visit Zimbabwe from 27 February – 1 March to see the current humanitarian situation in the country. This visit will mark Mr. Lowcock’s first visit to Southern Africa as Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
During his visit, Mr. Lowcock will meet with senior Government officials, the diplomatic community, humanitarian organisations and members of civil society. Mr. Lowcock is also expected to meet with people in Epworth and Mudzi district, who have been affected the most by increasing food insecurity. Zimbabwe is facing rising humanitarian needs as a result of erratic rains and the economic challenges, with 5.3 million people estimated to be in urgent need of assistance.
Mr. Lowcock will also launch, with the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli, on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team, the 2019 Zimbabwe Flash Appeal on 28 February 2019 in Harare. The Flash Appeal call on the international community to further contribute to the aid organisations’ efforts to save lives in response to Zimbabwe’s economic challenges and deteriorating humanitarian situations.
Mr. Mark Lowcock began the role of OCHA’s USG/ERC on 1 September 2017. Mr. Mark Lowcock of the United Kingdom was appointed as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
With more than 30 years of humanitarian and development experience, Mr. Lowcock serves as the chief coordinator of the world’s humanitarian response in times of urgent crisis. In his most recent position as Permanent Secretary for the Department for International Development (DFID), Mr. Lowcock led the United Kingdom’s humanitarian response to conflicts in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and to natural disasters in Nepal and the Philippines.
Prior to his leadership of DFID, Mr. Lowcock served as DFID’s Director General for Africa and Asia, coordinating its response to humanitarian emergencies in Haiti, Myanmar and Pakistan.
He served previously as Director General for both Policy and Corporate Performance, and as Director of Finance. Having served for extended periods in Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe, and with a subsequent designation as a Qualified Accountant, Mr. Lowcock brings a personal and analytical approach to humanitarian challenges.
His leadership of a large and complex public organisation has provided critical experience for his work as the world’s chief humanitarian advocate. Mr. Lowcock holds a Master of Science in Economics from the University of London and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and History from Oxford University.
The Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC) is responsible for the oversight of all emergencies requiring United Nations humanitarian assistance.
He also acts as the central focal point for governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental relief activities. The ERC also leads the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), a unique inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving the key United Nations and non-United Nations humanitarian partners.