Samarasinha assumes duty as UN Resident Coordinator in the Pacific

United Nations resident coordinator for Fiji and nine other Pacific island countries Sanaka Samarasinha speaking to the media in Suva today. Picture: LUKE NACEI

SANAKA Samarasinha has assumed his duties as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Program resident representative in the Pacific.

Mr Samarasinha replaces Osnat Lubrani who served almost five years at the helm of the Fiji Multi-Country Office covering 10 Pacific island countries.

He introduced himself to the Fijian media at Kadavu House in Suva today.

The Sri Lankan national says he is excited to be in Fiji because it feels like his home, considering the fact that he is from an island himself.

The UN Resident Coordinator said there were a lot of work being done in the Pacific, particularly with the Sustainable Development Goals, and plans and changes that will be coming into effect from next year.

The former journalist has been in the country for the past month, based out of the capital city Suva.

Mr Samarasinha will look after Federated States of Micronesia; Republic of Kiribati; Republic of the Marshall Islands; Republic of Nauru; Republic of Palau; Solomon Islands; Kingdom of Tonga; Tuvalu; and Republic of Vanuatu.

Before joining the Fiji office, he served in Minsk for five and a half years, and in various offices of the UN and UNDP.

He was the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative (RC/RR) and UNFPA Representative in Belarus from 2013 to this year.

Mr Samarasinha holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas, USA.

He is married with three daughters.

More in tomorrow’s edition of The Fiji Times and in our e-Edition.

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