Dutchman to be deputy head of UN mission in Mali

Dutch diplomat Koen Davidse is to become deputy head of the UN peace mission in Mali (MINUSMA). He has been appointed to the post by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon.

Mr Davidse has 25 years of experience in the international arena, having worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the World Bank and the UN. He is currently director of the foreign ministry’s Multilateral Organisations and Human Rights Department, a position he has held since 2011. He is also the Netherlands’ special envoy for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Foreign minister Bert Koenders is delighted with the appointment. ‘With his broad experience, Mr Davidse can make a major contribution to the mission and its organisation,’ he said. ‘It’s also special to have a Dutch national help lead a mission in which Dutch military personnel play such a crucial role. To make an effective military contribution you have to have some influence there too,’ added Mr Koenders, who headed MINUSMA from Mali’s capital, Bamako, from July 2013 to October 2014.

As deputy special representative of Ban Ki-moon in Mali, Koen Davidse will be MINUSMA’s second-ranking civilian. Some 450 Dutch military personnel and civilian experts are taking part in the mission, which is aimed at restoring security and stability in the West African country.

The Netherlands has been operating in Mali since 2014. The military personnel are mainly involved in reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering. The information thus gained is used by the mission’s commander to prepare operations. Civilian experts from the Netherlands are helping to bolster the Malian police force and strengthen the rule of law.

Mr Davidse starts work in Mali at the end of September. From 2008 to 2011 he was head of the ministry’s Fragile States and Peacebuilding Unit, focusing specifically on Afghanistan. He was also the Netherlands’ special envoy for Sudan in the final phase of the peace negotiations between the North and South.

In 2006 he served at the UN as research director for the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on United Nations System-wide Coherence. Mr Davidse has also worked at the World Bank (1997-2001), the Dutch mission to the UN in New York (2001-2005) and in South Asia and Egypt.