British Diplomat Martin Griffiths Steps Down from UN Humanitarian Chief Amid Humanitarian Crises Worldwide

By Eleanor Harrison Mar25,2024
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths to resign due to health issues

Martin Griffiths, a renowned British diplomat and seasoned negotiator with over 25 years of experience in international humanitarian work, is stepping down from his role as U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator after nearly three years of tirelessly advocating for individuals impacted by crises and mobilizing resources to meet their needs. His departure comes as the world continues to face mounting humanitarian challenges in various regions such as Ukraine, Gaza, and Africa, with funds for assistance dwindling at an alarming rate.

Griffiths’ tenure began in July 2021 when he assumed the role of U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator following his stint as the U.N. special envoy for Yemen. Prior to this, he had served as the director of the U.N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva before taking on the position of founding director of the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva from 1999 to 2010, where he focused on political dialogue between governments and insurgents across different countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

In addition to his extensive experience in international humanitarian work, Griffiths also held various positions such as the first executive director of the European Institute of Peace from 2014 to 2018 and served as a special adviser to three U.N. special envoys for Syria during his career with UNICEF, Save the Children, Action Aid, among others organizations that have benefited from his expertise in peacekeeping missions like UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan). He was also instrumental in establishing the United Nations’ framework for peacekeeping operations during his tenure with UNICEF before becoming a deputy head of the United Nations mission in Syria during its early stages when civil war broke out.

Despite contracting a severe case of COVID-19 last October that left him still experiencing symptoms long COVID today, Griffiths remained committed to fulfilling his duties until the end of June while ensuring a smooth transition process.

Upon news of Griffiths’ resignation announcement on Monday morning by Secretary-General António Guterres commended him on “his exceptional leadership and service to humanity” while acknowledging his dedication to addressing global humanitarian crises despite dwindling resources.

“Martin has been an outstanding advocate for individuals impacted by crises around the world,” said Farhan Haq, U.N.’s deputy spokesman.”His leadership has been crucial not only in our efforts but also across other organizations working together towards making this world a better place.”

By Eleanor Harrison

As a content writer at, I infuse flavor into words, crafting compelling stories that captivate and inform our audience. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for creativity, I strive to create content that not only engages but also inspires. Whether I'm concocting a savory blog post or whipping up a spicy product description, I pour my heart and soul into every piece I write. Join me on this flavorful journey as we explore the tantalizing world of content creation together.

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