Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia, Karin Landgren
In July 2012, Karin Landgren was appointed as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Liberia and Coordinator of UN Operations in Liberia, at the level of Under-Secretary-General.
In this function, she oversees the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), including the ongoing drawdown of military troops and transition of security responsibilities to the Government of Liberia.
Before joining UNMIL, Ms Landgren was the SRSG to Burundi and Head of the UN Mission in Burundi (BNUB). Prior to this, she served as the Secretary-General’s Representative to Nepal, overseeing the mandate and then the closure of the UN Mission, UNMIN.
Ms Landgren worked extensively on humanitarian and refugee issues during her 19 years with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. During the war in Former Yugoslavia, she served as UNHCR’s Chief of Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, overseeing a major operation and liaising closely with the UN peacekeeping operation there. She served as Chief of Mission in Eritrea immediately after the war and prior to Eritrean independence, planning a repatriation operation. As the UNHCR Representative in Singapore, and earlier as Deputy Representative in the Philippines, she worked to protect and resettle Vietnamese boat people. She worked in South Asia for several years, based in India, as UNHCR’s Protection Officer, primarily with refugees from Afghanistan and Iran. She was UNHCR’s Chief of Standards and Legal Advice for four years before leaving to take up a position as UNICEF’s first Chief of Child Protection, in 1998, where she and her colleagues developed a groundbreaking systemic approach to strengthening child protection against violence, abuse and exploitation.
Ms Landgren has continued to publish and lecture on post-conflict, humanitarian, refugee and child protection issues. She earned a Bachelor of Science (Economics) and an LL.M. from the London School of Economics. She grew up in Japan and Denmark, and has two children.
In 2014, UNMIL had 9000 staff (including troops, police and civilians) in 30 locations throughout Liberia, and a budget of just under USD 500 million.