Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator
Mr. Indrika Ratwatte is the Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.
Mr. Ratwatte brings over 30 years of experience in humanitarian affairs and protection in complex and crisis settings, including over 14 years of working on Afghanistan and regional issues. He started his career with the United Nations in 1992, with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and continued his career with the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1993. His most recent positions have included Director of the UNHCR Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, where he previously also served as Deputy, and UNHCR Representative in Pakistan. He served with UNHCR as Deputy Representative in the United Republic of Tanzania and Pakistan, along with prior assignments in Thailand, Croatia, China, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mr. Ratwatte holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, United States, and a bachelor’s degree in English and sociology from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is also an attorney-at-law from Sri Lanka Law College.
Alison Davidian is the UN Women Representative in Afghanistan a.i. From 2017-2019 she worked as a Programme Specialist on Governance, Peace and Security with UN Women's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, based in Thailand. In this role she has managed the implementation of over $USD 20 million in governance, peace and security programmes with a focus on preventing violent extremism, anti-trafficking, and access to justice. From 2013-2017, she was a Policy Specialist in the Peace and Security Unit at Head Quarters where she managed the Transitional Justice portfolio and led the creation of the Preventing Violent Extremism portfolio for UN Women. Before her time at UN Women, she worked for organizations including the International Center for Transitional Justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNDP in Somalia, and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service in Australia. She has a BA (Government) and an LLB from the University of Sydney, and an LLM from Harvard.
Antony Lamba is the Officer in Charge of UN-Habitat’s country program in Afghanistan. He has 25 years working experience in land management and urban development. Antony joined UN-Habitat in 2006 and undertook assignments in land management and municipal governance in Somalia until 2009. Between 2010-2012, he was UN-Habitat’s Head of Country Office in South Sudan and Program Manager of a land conflict management program. Between 2013-2016, he was Technical Adviser of a land policy and capacity building program supporting the Liberia Land Commission. He was also UN-Habitat’s Head of Country Office in Liberia between 2014-2016. Antony moved to Afghanistan in 2016 as Chief Technical Adviser of the City for All program, a flagship of the urban national priority program of the Afghan government that was implemented between 2016-2021. Since 2022, Antony is the head of programs for UN-Habitat in Afghanistan. He is also the Officer in Charge since July 2023. Prior to joining the UN, Antony worked for nine years in the Ministry of Lands and Settlement in Kenya as a land surveyor and head of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) section. Antony has a MSc degree in Geo-information Management from the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation in the Netherlands, and a BSc degree in Surveying from the University of Nairobi.
Anubha Sood is the UNODC Representative in Afghanistan. She has 24 years of professional work experience in development and humanitarian settings. She worked with a grassroots organization and many national and international organizations- (ActionAid, Oxfam, Danish Refugee Council, Urmul Trust) across India, the Middle East, East Africa and South Asia.
The focus of her works has been exploring alternate models and partnerships between non-profits, businesses, the private sector and the Government and looking at viable and sustainable livelihood options for the most vulnerable. Ms. Anubha Sood holds a Master's from London School of Economics and Political Science in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries'; another Master's in 'Social Work' from Delhi University.
Dr Luo Dapeng
Dr Luo Dapeng (China) was appointed as WHO Representative in Afghanistan in March 2020. He has been working in the field of international public health for over 20 years, with particular experience in communicable disease prevention and control, country capacity-building for health security, health system strengthening, particularly at the primary health care level, and providing leadership in managing complex emergencies and coordinating the humanitarian health response. Prior to joining WHO in Afghanistan, Dr Luo served as WHO Representative in Papua New Guinea for almost four years between 2017 and February 2021.
Ms. Fiona Frazer has been the Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Afghanistan since August 2019. She also serves as the Human Rights Chief within the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Frazer was Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine from 2015 to 2019. She has also served as Deputy Representative for OHCHR in Central Asia and was Deputy Head of the OHCHR HQ based Europe and Central Asia Section. With her additional human rights work in Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus, and the Philippines, Ms. Frazer has over 25 years of professional experience in conflict, humanitarian, and development settings.
Mr. Fran Equiza is the UNICEF Representative for Afghanistan. Prior to assuming this role, Fran served as the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan between January 2022 – January 2023, leading the UN’s humanitarian assistance work.
Fran has a vast background of fostering humanitarian work across diverse regions and in volatile environments. His career in the development sector and in the UN has spanned over two decades. Each country context and experience has given him the opportunity to meet with women, children, families, community leaders, donors, NGOs, non-state actors, and politicians to better understand their perspectives. These same experiences have enriched his political acumen, critical thinking, and leadership style so that he can better negotiate and influence, especially in complex, politically sensitive and challenging environments.
A humanitarian at heart, Fran joined UNICEF in 2014, serving as Representative in Mali, Syria, and the Central African Republic after which he was seconded to join the UN Mission in Afghanistan as Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator. Prior to UNICEF, he spent the early part of his career with Oxfam, serving in Spain and later in Mexico and Kenya as the Regional Director.
Fran's academic achievements include an MBA from Esade Business School in Spain; a Master’s degree in Development Studies and Governance from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Spain; and a Master’s degree in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain. In addition, Fran has completed courses in Executive Education Leadership at Harvard University, and in Leadership in Complex Organizations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A Spanish national, Fran is also fluent in English and French.
Representative and Country Director
Ms. Hsiao-Wei Lee assumed her responsibilities as WFP Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan in January 2023. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Lee served as WFP Afghanistan’s Deputy Country Director for Programme and Operations. Previously she was WFP South Sudan’s Head of Programme and, for a period, acting Deputy Country Director for Operations.
She also worked at WFP headquarters in Rome, where she contributed to the development and implementation of the corporate transition from project documents to Country Strategic Plans (CSPs), and supported a number of countries doing so, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan and the Philippines.
Prior to joining WFP, Ms. Lee worked for USAID in Sudan and South Sudan on conflict mitigation and peacebuilding. Her experience includes both strategic engagement and operational implementation in conflict-affected areas.
Ms. Lee has also practiced law in New York, Beijing and London with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley.
Isabelle Moussard Carlsen joined OCHA Afghanistan in June 2021. Isabelle has been engaged in the humanitarian sector since 1987. Her first field experience was in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. She subsequently spent 12 years working in the field in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kenya and Somalia. Back in France in 1999, she worked for four years with the Samu Social de Paris before joining ACF in January 2005 as a Desk Officer. In March 2013, Isabelle was promoted to a Regional Director position and was then Director of Operations for ACF- France from August 2016 to April 2021.
Kwabena Asante-Ntiamoah is the UNFPA Representative in Afghanistan. He has served as Representative in Rwanda, Representative a.i. in Malaysia and Country Director a.i. Thailand. Prior to that Mr. Asante-Ntiamoah, was the Deputy Country Representative of UNFPA in Afghanistan and also served in the same capacity in Cameroon.
Kwabena has over 20 years of working experience in peacebuilding, humanitarian and development work. He has worked with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations with the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), UNDP/UNV and brings on board the nexus thinking of linking peace, humanitarian and development to addressing complex global issues.
Kwabena is a national of Ghana and holds a Master of Science Degree in Development Studies from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Sociology with Political Science from the University of Ghana, and a postgraduate qualification in Leadership from Columbia University.
Leonard Zulu is an international human rights and refugee law specialist who has worked for UNHCR Headquarters and Field Operations for over two decades. Prior to his appointment in Afghanistan, Mr. Zulu was UNHCR Representative to South Africa covering nine countries in the region including Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia.
He has held other senior positions with UNHCR including Deputy-Director for the Southern Africa Region, Head of Legal and Policy Unit for the African Bureau, in Geneva, Switzerland, Senior Legal Officer at UNHCR Representation for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and as a Senior Protection Coordinator for UNHCR in the Dadaab Refugee Camps in Kenya. Mr. Zulu has also worked in emergencies in Kosovo and Eritrea.
Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Zulu worked as a lawyer at Honey and Blankenberg Legal Practitioners in his native Zimbabwe and has been a member of the Zimbabwe Bar Association since 1997. He has a Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Zimbabwe and a Masters in International Law from Lund University, Sweden.
Chief of Mission
Maria Moita is IOM Chief of Mission in Afghanistan. Prior to Afghanistan, Maria was the IOM Regional Director a.i. and the Snr Emergency & Post-Conflict Specialist for Asia & the Pacific region, covering over 30 countries. In addition, she worked in large scale humanitarian responses in Haiti, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Iran and respective regional implications. Maria holds a degree in Architecture and an MA in Development Studies.
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political)
On 17 June 2022, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Markus Potzel of Germany as his new Deputy Special Representative (Political) for Afghanistan in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
Mr. Potzel brings to the position over 27 years of professional experience in diplomacy and international cooperation, including eight years of professional experience working in and on Afghanistan. Most recently, he served as Ambassador of Germany to Afghanistan.
Mr. Potzel has held several senior positions with the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as German Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2017-2021), Commissioner for Crisis Management (since 2016), Ambassador of Germany to Afghanistan (2014-2016) and Head of the German Federal Foreign Office Middle East Division (2010-2014). He also served as Personal Assistant to the Foreign Affairs Minister (2006-2009), in the Parliamentary and Cabinet Division of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2004-2005), as Head of the Economics and Trade Section in the German Embassy in Tehran (2000-2004) and as Head of the Cultural Section in the German Embassy in Singapore (1997-2000).
In 2010, he was a visiting Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs studying the relations between Iran and Afghanistan.
Mr. Potzel holds a master’s degree in Persian and English language and literature studies from the Humboldt University Berlin in Germany and the University of Dushanbe in Tajikistan. He is fluent in German, English, Persian and Dari.
Melinda Good joined the World Bank in 2005. Her most recent assignment was Operations Manager based in Pakistan. She previously held the managerial position of Chief Counsel for South Asia, and the position of Senior Counsel both in Indonesia and in Washington, DC. Before joining the World Bank, Ms. Good worked in the private sector in New York and Singapore, and with the Asian Development Bank in Manila. She brings more than 25 years of operational and corporate experience, including 15 years living and working in Asia. She holds degrees from Harvard and Duke University.
Country Director and Representative
Nicholas George brings more than 20 years of experience in development and humanitarian mission settings to the role. Mr. George has held senior positions with UNOPS, including the Head of the Washington DC Office, Country Director a.i. in Myanmar, Director of Partnerships a.i. and Head of Global Communications. He completed his studies at the London Schools of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and the University of Manchester.
Nick Pond CBE
Chief of Mine Action Section
Nick Pond is the Chief of Mine Action Section in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), responsible for supporting the coordination of the humanitarian mine action sector, providing assessments of the explosive ordnance threat and its impact, and coordinating threat mitigation measures in support of humanitarian and development initiatives. He reports to the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary General – Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.
Prior to this appointment he was the Senior Advisor to the Programme Manager of The HALO Trust in Afghanistan, an international mine action NGO based in Kabul. He was the Senior Military Advisor for UNAMA from April 2021 to April 2022, working from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Qatar.
Nick has been working regularly in Afghanistan since 2005 and has always strived to improve the lives of those in need. Prior to working with HALO, Nick served in the British Army for 36 years, leading teams in highly volatile environments, working to restore, preserve, build, and sustain peace. His operational deployments included Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.
Nick, a British national, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Exeter University, a master’s degree in military studies from Cranfield University, and a postgraduate certificate in security and strategy for global leaders from King's College London. He is married with two teenage children and enjoys swimming, snowboarding, Ultimate Frisbee and playing the drums.
Ms Patricia McPhillips assumed her responsibilities as UNESCO Officer-in-Charge to Afghanistan, in January 2022. Prior to her current appointment, Ms McPhillips served as Representative and Director of UNESCO to Pakistan from 2019 – 2021, and Afghanistan 2015 – 2019.
Within the context of her experience with the UN, Ms McPhillips has worked with UN Women as Chief Technical Advisor in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia; with IOM in Kosovo; UNRWA as Deputy Director in Syria; UNICEF as Special Representative to the Occupied Palestinian Territories in Jerusalem; Senior Political Officer with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), and; Senior Planning and Reporting Officer with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Her professional experience not only spans development work, but also humanitarian and relief assignments including the Red Cross and Non-Government Agencies and Organizations, as well as the US Department of State.
She is experienced in managing complex and protracted emergencies within a human-rights and engendered based approach, with the full inclusion of education for all, alternative learning modalities, life-long learning opportunities, cultural rights, free access to information, and the freedom of expression.
Ms McPhillips holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Concordia College, Moorhead, and a Masters of Arts in Education, University of San Francisco.
Ramin Behzad is the Senior Coordinator of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for Afghanistan.
Mr. Behzad represented his home country Iran at the ILO, including at the International Labour Conference and Governing Body Sessions, from 2013 to 2020. He served as the Coordinator of the Government Group and the Asia and Pacific Government Group (ASPAG) of the ILO.
He held managerial positions in the Statistics Centre and the International Affairs Department of the MCLSW during 2002-2013.
Mr. Behzad holds a PhD in Statistics from Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran, and two master’s degrees in Actuarial Science from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran.
Mr. Mohammadi is a program and project management professional with a master's degree focused on Management Information Systems with long term experience in program management at post-conflict countries and regional development & connectivity. He has more than 25 years of work experience in development processes, accompanied by extensive knowledge of the entire project/program cycle. Before joining UNCTAD, Reza has experience working with UNOPS and government experience as a civil servant.
Richard Trenchard has more than 25 years humanitarian, crisis and development. A land tenure and property specialist by technical background, he has worked for the United Nations at FAO, IFAD and WFP.
Before his appointment as FAO Representative in Afghanistan in August 2021, he has served as FAO Representative ad interim for Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Previously, he worked as head of Regional Policy and Senior Adviser for the Near East and North Africa, based in FAO’s regional office in Cairo and focusing on food systems transformation; also, as FAO’s first “Whole of Syria Coordinator” and FAO Representative in Somalia.
He has worked in a range of sudden-onset and complex emergency settings, including South Sudan, Sudan (Darfur), Liberia, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Rwanda and has supported development programmes and operations in more than thirty other countries.
He has a PhD from Cambridge University (UK).
Previously, Stephen served as the Resident Representative for UNDP Liberia and, before that, he was the Resident Representative for UNDP Rwanda where he also served as Country Director for a few years. Stephen was also UNDP Deputy Country Director in Indonesia. From 2005-2010, Stephen worked as an Advisor in the Executive Office in UNDP New York. He was also Head of the Governance and Poverty Unit in UNDP Jamaica and Part-time Lecturer in Political Science at the University of the West Indies. Prior to joining UNDP, Stephen occupied various positions in the Jamaican Government, serving as Director of Social Policy in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Head of Planning and Development in the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, and Assistant to the Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica.
Stephen holds a Masters in Business Administration from the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain and a Masters of Philosophy in Government and Bachelors in International Relations (First Class Honours) from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.
He is married and has two daughters. He speaks fluent English and Spanish.
Yuki Takemoto joins the United Nations in Pakistan as Country Director for UNAIDS. She brings over twenty years of experience in development cooperation, including fifteen years leading policy, programmes and strategic partnerships for health, HIV and sustainable development at the global, regional and country levels.
Ms. Takemoto is from Japan and holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Laws from Kyoto University.