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The UN calls for nominations of Senior leaders - we bring clarity to all the abbreviations

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by Impactpool
in partnership with the United Nations

The UN Secretariat is launching a call for nominations to enlarge the pool of potential candidates for positions of Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Political and/or for the Rule of Law in United Nations field missions. These high level representatives also serve as Heads and deputy Heads of Mission. In this article, we explain the abbreviations used for senior appointments and the different types of field missions.

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As of February 2017, there are 59 Heads and deputy Heads of Mission positions deployed in operations led by the Departments of Political Affairs (DPA), Peacekeeping (DPKO) and Field Support (DFS). These postings are generally residential and are mostly based in non-family duty stations.

Relevant UN Leadership roles

Special Representative and Deputy Special Representatives of the Secretary-General (SRSG/DSRSG)


Representatives of the Secretary-General serve at the level and title designated by him.

Sometimes the designation is prescribed by the Security Council or the General Assembly In the context of hybrid mission (e.g. African Union and UN in Darfur), Heads and deputy Heads of Mission are termed Joint Special Representative (JSR) and Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR).


Under-Secretary-General (USG) and Assistant Secretary-General (ASG)


USG and ASG are terms used to describe a level of appointment. Senior leaders at these levels can perform a number of functions across the UN System, such as: Head or Deputy Head of a Department, a Special Representative, or Special Envoy or perform other high-level functions.


Special Coordinator


Normally appointed at USG level, the Special Coordinator is a special or personal representative who coordinates the work of the United Nations and represents the Secretary General on all political aspects of the United Nations’ work in a country. An example is the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.


Special Envoy


Special Envoys of the Secretary-General are usually assigned at the USG or ASG level to undertake a special mission relating to matters of which the Security Council or the General Assembly are seized, for example the Special Envoy for Yemen or the Special Envoy on Sexual Violence in Conflict.


Deputy Special Representative/Resident Coordinator (RC)/Humanitarian Coordinator (HC)/Resident Representative (RR)


Candidates for these ‘multi-hatted’ positions are drawn from a dedicated Resident Coordinator Pool. In countries where an integrated peacekeeping or political mission is deployed, one Deputy SRSG will also serve as Resident Coordinator and, where applicable, Humanitarian Coordinator, with responsibility for the coordination of development and humanitarian assistance, including early and longer-term recovery.

In countries where no Peace Operation is deployed the Resident Coordinator is the designated representative of the UN Secretary-General and leader of United Nations Country Team at country level. The RC also performs the function of Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme. In humanitarian contexts, the RC may also function as the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC).

UN Missions and acronyms

16 DPKO Peacekeeping operations:


Current Operations


United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara


United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African republic


United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali


United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti


United Nations Organization Stablilzation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo


African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur


United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (Golan)


United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus


United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon


United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei


United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo


United Nations Mission in Liberia


United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan


United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan


United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire


United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (Middle East)

12 DPA field missions:


Current Operations


United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan


United Nations Office to the African Union


United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa


United Nations Regional Centre for Preventative Diplomacy for Central Asia


United Nations Mission in Colombia


United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau


United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq


Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon


United Nations Support Mission in Libya


Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process


United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia


United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel

1 DFS field mission:


United Nations Support Office in Somalia

Learn about the Secretary General's call for Nominations

Photo: Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Representative for the Central African Republic and Head of MINUSCA on arrival to Bangui. Photo by UN Photo/Nektarios

This article was developed in partnership with the United Nations and serves to increase the dissemination and visibility of the Global Call for nominations.
There is no cost associated with submitting nominations and neither the United Nations nor Impactpool charge a fee at any stage of the process.

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