On 6 June 2003, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Jan Egeland of Norway as the new Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, succeeding Kenzo Oshima of Japan.
Mr. Egeland has gained 25 years of active experience in humanitarian, human rights and peace work through the United Nations, the Norwegian Government, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other non-governmental and academic institutions. He is currently Secretary General of the Norwegian Red Cross. From 1999 to 2002, he was the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Colombia.
Earlier in his career, he served as State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1990–1997). In that capacity, he initiated the two Norwegian Emergency Preparedness Systems, which have provided more than 2,000 experts and humanitarian workers to international organizations. He has also been Director for the International Department of the Norwegian Red Cross, Head of Development Studies at the Henry Dunant Institute, Geneva and radio and television international news reporter, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.
Mr. Egeland holds a Magister Artium in Political Science, University of Oslo. He has been a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley and a fellow at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, and the Truman Institute for the Advancement for Peace, Jerusalem. Mr. Egeland has been Chair of Amnesty International, Norway, and Vice-Chair of the International Executive Committee of Amnesty International.
Mr. Egeland has been an active participant in a number of peace processes. He co-initiated and co-organized the Norwegian channel between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1992, which led to the Oslo Accord (Declaration of Principles) of September 1993. He directed the Norwegian facilitation of the United Nations-led peace talks leading up to ceasefire agreement between Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca( URNG) guerrillas signed in Oslo in 1996. He also led the host delegation when the Ottawa treaty to ban landmines was successfully negotiated and adopted in Oslo in 1997.
Mr. Egeland has published a number of reports, studies and articles on conflict resolution, humanitarian affairs and human rights.
Mr. Egeland is married with two daughters.