Solidarity and Joint Interests in Africa

Mr. Georg Charpentier

Charpentier in Africa

- Finland has a good reputation in Africa as a neutral country without a colonial legacy and with technological know-how in several sectors, analyzes Georg Charpentier who last year was appointed the Secretary General’s Deputy Special Representative and deputy chief of the UN Political Mission UNSMIL for Libya.

The international civil servant brings extensive humanitarian and development experience to his new position. He started in 1984 as a Program Officer in Vietnam. Since then he has held high UN posts in several countries in Africa.

Coordinating The World’s Largest Program
Mr. Charpentier has also served as Deputy Director of UNDP’s Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery. In 2011 he completed his assignment as Deputy Special Representative for Sudan and United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in that country.

- In Sudan I was coordinating the world’s largest humanitarian and recovery program, reorienting the humanitarian work plan and UN funds to focus on sustainability, improved coping mechanisms through livelihood support, basic services and durable solutions for internally displaced persons, Charpentier summarizes.

In his new task Mr. Charpentier, who is also the Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Libya, is tackling a variety of issues.

- I am coordinating post-revolution UN Agency programming for early recovery and development in support of Libyan national strategic plans. I am leading efforts to refocus and reorient humanitarian relief operations towards specific support for vulnerable groups and mine action operations. We also have a role in support of post-conflict national reconciliation efforts undertaken by the National Reconciliation Commission, LibAid and other partners.

Election and Governance Support in Libya
- In Libya I have led joint UNSMIL/UNCT activities relating to elections and governance in support of national priorities. I am responsible for coordination of international partner support to Libya in line with UNSMIL mandate, including establishment of national coordination mechanism in the Office of the Prime Minister and regular briefings to diplomatic community in Libya. I have promoted integration of UNSMIL and UNCT in support of Mission mandate through establishment of UN coordination mechanisms on elections, security sector and transitional justice/rule of law.

- UNSMIL is an integrated political mission, meaning that the Deputy Special Representative also fulfils the functions of Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, responsible to oversee humanitarian, early recovery and development activities undertaken by all UN Agencies in Libya.

Assistance to Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
The UN’s mandate in Libya is focused on supporting national and local authorities during the transition. Part of these responsibilities include a regional dimension, including support and assistance to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, support for border control and activities against weapons proliferation, as well as facilitating the interaction of Libya’s transitional government with regional and international organizations.

Motivation from Solidarity, Values and Joint Interests
Finland’s partnership with Africa is motivated by solidarity, values and joint interests. Mr. Charpentier finds the Finnish approach very suitable: ”Finland provides cooperation in a business-like manner and not in a conditional and politicized manner. I am sure Finland will be even more active in Africa in the future.”