UN chief appoints Amir Abdulla as coordinator of Black Sea Grain Initiative

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday announced the appointment of Amir Abdulla as the Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The Initiative was launched by Ukraine, Türkiye, the Russian Federation and the UN on July 22, 2022, to enable the resumption of exports from Ukraine of grain, foodstuffs, and fertiliser, including ammonia, through a safe maritime humanitarian corridor.

Guterres announced the appointment in a statement issued from the UN headquarters in New York.

Abdulla is the former Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of World Food Program (WFP), overseeing its humanitarian operations around the world.

Abdulla succeeds Frederick Kenney of the United States who was on loan by the International Maritime Organization as interim Coordinator for the UN at the Joint Coordination Center (JCC).

The Secretary-General is grateful for Kenney’s dedication, expertise, commitment and excellent leadership in implementing the Initiative.

Abdulla brings over 30 years of experience in the areas of humanitarian response and management with the WFP as well as specialized expertise in emergency operations, supply chain and security.

From 2009 until June 2022, he served as the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of WFP, overseeing its humanitarian operations around the world.

Prior to that, and starting from 1991, Abdulla served in various capacities in WFP both in the field and headquarters.

From 2008 to 2009, he was the WFP’s Chief Financial Officer and Director of Legal Division, managing WFP’s budget in response to fluctuating food and fuel prices and implementing accountability standards.

Prior appointments with WFP included Regional Director for Southern Africa (2006-2007), Regional Director for Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe (2004-2006), Director of Budget (2001-2004) and Project Manager for WPF’s corporate information management system (2000-2001).

Prior to joining WFP, Abdulla was a Branch Manager in Juba and Port Sudan for the shipping and forwarding company Transintra and Assistant Area Manager for the Burmeister and Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) engineering company in the Sudan.

He also taught at the American School and Comboni College in Khartoum.

Abdulla holds a Bachelor of Science Honors degree from Imperial College, London University.

He speaks English and Arabic.

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