Mr. Arnauld Akodjenou--Biography

The United Nations High Commissioner, Mr Filippo Grandi, appointed Mr. Arnauld Akodjenou as Regional Refugee Coordinator and Special Advisor for the South Sudan Situation, against the backdrop of an intensifying conflict that has seen over two million of the country's citizens flee into neighbouring countries, and a further two million displaced internally.

In this capacity, Mr. Akodjenou works closely with UNHCR operations in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda to ensure a strong overarching vision and coherent engagement across the region in pursuit of protection and solutions for South Sudanese IDPs and refugees.

He collaborates closely with relevant national and regional political, humanitarian and development actors to steer efforts to mitigate further displacement and galvanise political engagement in support of solutions, and will work to bring greater visibility to the situation of refugees and the internally displaced, and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the conflict.

Mr. Akodjenou brings over 30 years of humanitarian, political, mediation and management experience to this role, from his service with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Mr. Akodjenou joined UNHCR in 1986 after several years with the World Social Prospects Association/United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Geneva. After holding various positions in the Regional Bureau for Africa at headquarters, covering the Great Lakes, West Africa and Central Africa, he served as UNHCR Representative in Mali and Sierra Leone, and as Regional Coordinator for Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, based in Ghana, dealing with the two crises.  He was subsequently appointed Director of Emergency and Security Services at UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva, and then Director of the Division of Operational Services, before taking up his functions as Inspector General in 2009.

In July 2011, Mr Akodjenou was appointed by the Secretary General to the role of Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Côte d’Ivoire, where he served for three years, before his appointment as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Mali in 2014. From October 2015 to May 2017, Mr Akodjenou worked as Special Advisor for the Kofi Annan Foundation, responsible for The Electoral Integrity Initiative in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mr. Akodjenou graduated from the University of Benin in Cotonou before earning his post-graduate degree from the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon in Yaoundé.  He also holds a PhD in political science from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

Mr Akodjenou is based in Nairobi, supported by a small team.