New Resident Representative for UNDP Somalia, Lionel Laurens, takes up post in Mogadishu

June 14, 2023

14 June 2023, Mogadishu The new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Somalia, Lionel Laurens, assumed his responsibilities in Mogadishu this week.

Laurens, a French national, takes up the role after serving for four years as UNDP’s Resident Representative in Zambia.

“I am delighted to be in Somalia to contribute to the development of this beautiful country, hand in hand with the government and other partners,” said Laurens. “Despite the scale of the challenges, from conflict to natural disasters, I know the resilience, talent and energy of the Somali people is equal to mting them and I look forward to leading UNDP as it pursues its mandate to help Somalia enjoy prosperity and peace.”

Prior to this assignment, Laurens served as UNDP Guinea Country Director. From 2014 till 2015, he was UNDP Sierra Leone Head of Programmes and supported in reprogramming its interventions to respond to Ebola.

From 2008 till 2014, he was UNDP Iraq Inclusive Growth and Area Based Development Cluster Team Leader and managed a portfolio of projects focussing on local governance, service delivery, economic recovery and poverty reduction. Prior to that, he worked in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2008 as UNDP Programme Manager engaging with communities to rebuild rural infrastructures, deliver basic services and promote economic development. 

From 2002 to 2005, Laurens contributed to the launch of the World Bank supported CDD Poverty Reduction Fund in Laos as Senior Technical Advisor. From 1997 till 2002, he worked with the Laotian Government, ILO and UNDP in developing participatory and integrated planning approaches, and before this with NGOs on a variety of humanitarian issues in Cambodia, Haiti, Georgia and Liberia.

Laurens holds a Master of Engineering and Management from the French Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers, and an MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility from Ashridge Business School in the UK.

Laurens takes over the role from former UNDP Somalia Resident Representative, Jocelyn Mason, who served five years in Somalia before retiring.

Media Contacts:

Robert Few, Head of Communications, UNDP Somalia, 

Ilyas Abukar, Communications Analyst, UNDP Somalia,