Our Team in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu

Resident Coordinator to Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, Sanaka Samarasinha

Sanaka Samarasinha

RCO
Resident Coordinator to Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Sanaka Samarasinha commenced his appointment as the United Nations Resident Coordinator for the Republic of Fiji in 2018, with multi-country coverage of nine other Pacific Island Countries. Sanaka had served as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative (RC/RR) in Minsk and UNFPA Representative in Belarus (2013-2018). Before this appointment, Sanaka served in various offices of the UN and UNDP. Before joining the UN, he worked in the legal profession and in journalism, with government, civil society and the private sector in several different countries including the USA, South Africa and India.
VV

Vanessa Vudikaria

UNV
UNV Pacific Field Unit Multi-Country Coordinator
 
Vanessa joined the UN Volunteers Pacific Field Unit based in Suva as Multi-Country Coordinator in March 2022. The Field Unit is responsible for the mobilization and placement of UN Volunteers in UN Agencies, Funds, and Programmes focused on peace, development, and humanitarian needs, covering 14 countries in the Pacific region: Fiji, Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Cook Islands, and Tokelau. UNV also promotes volunteerism as a cross-cutting means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda. Prior to joining UNV, Vanessa worked for the Embassy of Japan in Fiji’s Development Cooperation division and UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) programme. She has a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Waseda University in Tokyo.
Adrian Edwards

Adrian Edwards

UNHCR
Multi-Country Representative based in Canberra
 
Adrian Edwards is the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra with geographical responsibility for the region including Australia, the Cook Islands, the Republic of Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, the Republic of Palau, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Independent State of Samoa, the Solomon Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu and the Republic Vanuatu. Building on a long history of UNHCR involvement in the region, Adrian’s role is to work with governments and other partners to increase understanding and support for refugees and asylum-seekers, and stateless persons. Before coming to Australia Adrian was UNHCR’s representative in Montenegro. He has also been an international spokesperson for the organization and led its worldwide news and media operations for over a decade including at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum and across multiple humanitarian emergencies. Over the course of his UN career, he has worked in Afghanistan with the UN political mission UNAMA, in Timor-Leste with UNMIT, in Sudan with the UN-AU Hybrid mission in Darfur, and in Cambodia where he was a political violence analyst for OHCHR. Adrian has a background in human rights policy and in journalism in the Asia-Pacific, having worked among others with the Far Eastern Economic Review, Reuters, Economist Intelligence Unit and in South Korea as a radio and TV correspondent for the BBC. Adrian is British-Swedish. He studied public administration at Harvard, and music in London. He is married to journalist Huongly Buiduong.
Alpha Bah

Alpha Bah

WFP
Country Director for the Pacific Multi-Country Office
 
Alpha Bah is WFP’s Country Director for the Pacific Multi-Country Office based in Suva, Fiji. In the Pacific, WFP works towards improving the capacity of Pacific Island Countries and Territories to reduce risk of, prepare for, and respond to disasters with a view of building a more resilient Pacific Community. Since joining WFP in 2000, he has been stationed in several countries including North Korea, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Italy, Senegal, Kenya, UAE, and Bangladesh, responding to and supporting several high-profile emergency missions around the world.

Prior to joining WFP, Alpha worked for UNDP and for the private sector as a network engineer. Prior to his assignment in the Pacific, Alpha was the Deputy Country Director for WFP in Bangladesh with overall responsibility for operations and support services for WFP’s development and humanitarian assistance programs. He had also previously served as WFP’s Chief of IT Emergency Preparedness and Response, responsible for managing WFP’s IT emergency team and leadership of the global Emergency Telecommunication Cluster (ETC).

Alpha is married and has four children. He and his wife are from Sierra Leone. He holds a master’s degree in Management and Information Systems, and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering with honors, and a Certified Network Engineer. He is a dedicated humanitarian and proud husband and father.
Andie Fong Toy

Andie Fong Toy

UN ESCAP
Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific
 
Ms. Andie Fong Toy is the Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

Ms. Fong Toy brings over thirty years of experience in the Pacific. She previously served as Legal and Political Advisor, International Legal Advisor and Director, Political and Security Programme at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat before being appointed as its Deputy Secretary-General. In this capacity, she oversaw political and security, economic governance, and trade policy issues, including economic integration and reform in the Pacific.

In her more recent capacity as Labour Mobility Advisor for the Australian Pacific Training Coalition, Ms. Fong Toy provided strategic advice to countries of the Pacific on ways to optimize labour mobility and produce the best employment outcomes.

Ms. Fong Toy holds a master’s degree in international relations from Deakin University and a bachelor’s degree in law from Victoria University of Wellington.
Country Director

Anne Colquhoun

OCHA
Head of Office
Anne commenced with UNOCHA as its Head of Office in October 2017.

She holds over twenty years of public sector, management and international emergency and development practice.She has worked in Australia with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

Her international experience covers Africa, South East Asia and the Levant region. Anne has extensive engagement in emergency and humanitarian support with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
UN Habitat

Bernhard Barth

UN-Habitat
Pacific Regional Coordinator
Bernhard Barth joined UN-Habitat in 2006 and oversees UN-Habitat’s Pacific Programme since 2013 after moving to the Regional Office in Japan from UN-Habitat’s Headquarters in Nairobi. Bernhard also oversees two other country programmes in the Asia Pacific Region and UN-Habitat’s climate change programme.

Prior to joining UN-Habitat, he worked for ESCAP in Bangkok and various NGOs in Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and the UK and his native Germany. Bernhard holds Master’s degrees in Economics and in Environmental Policy.
Programme Manager

Bram Peters

UNCDF
Programme Manager
Bram Peters is the Regional Digital Lead for UNCDF in the Pacific and the Programme Manager of the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP). Prior to joining the UN, he worked with FINCA International in Zambia and Uganda. He holds three Masters in Arts in Social Science (VU University Amsterdam); MA, Management Consultancy (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University) and an MA in Microfinance from the Université libre de Bruxelles.
Brian Smith

Brian Smith

UNDSS
UN Regional Security Advisor Fiji and Samoa Multi Country Offices
 
Brian Smith joined the Fiji Samoa Multi Country Offices as Regional Security Adviser in November 2019. He came to Fiji from Phnom Penh where he was the Regional Security Adviser for Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR. Prior to this Mr Smith served in Afghanistan where he was the UN Chief of Security Operations from July 2013 to July 2015, UN Security Adviser for Vietnam from 2011 to 2013, UN Regional Security Adviser for China, DPRK and ROK from 2008 – 2011, UN Security Adviser for India and Bhutan from 2005 – 2008, and UN Deputy Security Adviser Afghanistan from 2003 – 2005.

He started his security career in 1977 with the New Zealand Defence Force and served in Australia, Bougainville, Fiji, Egypt and Iran in a range of operational assignments. Mr Smith is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College and has a post graduate qualification in Management from ANU.

Mr Smith served in a number of senior staff and diplomatic positions during his career namely as the Senior New Zealand Officer for the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai, NZ Defence Attache for the South Pacific located in Fiji, Chief of Staff of the NZ Ready Reaction Brigade, Commanding Officer of the Ready Reaction Battalion and as a Deputy Director in the NZ Defence Force HQ Development Branch. Mr Smith transitioned from the military in 2003 to take up a position in Afghanistan with the UN.
Dr Jacobs

Dr Mark Jacobs

WHO
WHO Representative/Director, Pacific Technical Support
 
Dr Mark Jacobs is the Director of Pacific Technical Support and WHO Representative to the South Pacific. He was appointed in this position in August 2021. Prior to this, he has held a series of senior public health leadership roles.

Dr Jacobs was previously the WHO Representative to Lao People’s Democratic Republic from November 2018 to August 2021. From May to October 2018, Dr Jacobs was Acting Director of Programme Management for WHO in the Western Pacific Region. He was also previously the Director of Communicable Diseases in the Region for 5 years.

Before joining WHO, he was New Zealand’s Director of Public Health for 9 years and managed the Public Health Programme at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community for 3 years. He also spent several years in Director of Public Health roles for state health authorities in Australia.

Dr Jacobs’ interests include developing healthy public policy, strengthening disease surveillance, strengthening all hazards emergency preparedness, and working across sectors to improve health. He holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, a Graduate Diploma in Health Services Management and a Master of Public Health

Head of Pacific Sub-Regional Office

Gabrielle (Gabby) Emery

UNDRR
Head of Pacific Sub-Regional Office
Ms Gabrielle (Gabby) Emery, a citizen of Aotearoa New Zealand, was appointed to the position of UNDRR Head of Pacific Subregional Office in January 2022 and is based in Suva, Fiji. As the UNDRR Pacific Representative, she oversees UNDRR support to Pacific Island countries and regional organisations.

Prior to this current appointment, Gabby was the head of the disaster law programme with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent in Asia Pacific. She brings extensive experience working with governments, partners and local actors to develop, revise and support implementation of climate, disaster and humanitarian laws and policies in the region, including many countries in the Pacific.

Gabby has also served as the policy and advocacy manager for New Zealand Red Cross, working on issues of international humanitarian law and refugee services in New Zealand. She was also humanitarian and development advisor for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs based out of New York. Gabby holds a master’s in international human rights law, and undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts. She is married with three children, and several adopted street dogs.
OHCHR

Heike Alefsen

OHCHR
Regional Representative OHCHR Regional Office for the Pacific (ROP)
Heike Alefsen has almost 30 years of human rights, legal, political and development work experience with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and civil society. Until 2020, she was Senior Human Rights Adviser to the UN Country Team in Bangladesh and to the UN Development Group Asia-Pacific in Bangkok.

As Deputy Head of the OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia, she established a country programme for Myanmar and coordinated policy and information of the Human Rights Council’s special procedures at OHCHR Geneva. She also served with the UN Division for the Advancement of Women and the UN Development Fund for Women in New York, as Council of Europe Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and with Amnesty International’s Legal Office in London.
Iori Kato

Iori Kato

UNFPA
Director and Representative United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific
Mr. Iori KATO is the Director & Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific Island Countries, a position he assumed in August 2022. Mr. KATO has spent the last 20 years in UNDP, IOM and UNFPA.

Mr. Kato was previously UNFPA's Representative for the Philippines from 2018-2020, until he was seconded to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Headquarters in Geneva as Senior Regional Advisor to the Director-General for Asia and the Pacific. Prior to functioning as Representative for the Philippines, Iori was Deputy Representative in Bangladesh from 2014-2018 where he also served as Representative a.i. and spearheaded the start-up and scale-up of UNFPA’s humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Prior to working for UNFPA, Mr. Kato worked as UN Regional Coordination Specialist at the UNDG Asia-Pacific Secretariat in Bangkok from 2012 to 2014. Iori also worked for UNDP from 2002 to 2012 in various capacities, including as Assistant Resident Representative in Lao PDR and Special Assistant to Regional Director for Asia-Pacific among other positions. Prior to joining the UN system, Iori worked as a newspaper writer and editor in his home country Japan.

Mr. Kato holds a master’s degree of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York, and a Bachelor’s degree from International Christian University, Tokyo.
Regional Coordinator

Jayvee Santos

UNCTAD
Regional Coordinator for the Pacific for ASYCUDA
Jayvee is the Regional Coordinator for the Pacific for ASYCUDA, the largest UNCTAD technical cooperation programme. He has 20+ years experience in customs automation and modernization working in 20 country projects in Asia-Pacific. Jayvee’s office currently supports 12 Pacific countries and territory.
Representative

Jonathan Veitch

UNICEF
Representative
 
Mr. Jonathan Veitch, a citizen of the United Kingdom, was appointed to the position of UNICEF Pacific Representative in August 2021 and is based in Suva, Fiji. As the UNICEF Pacific Representative, he oversees UNICEF’s programmes and operations in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Prior to this current appointment, Mr. Veitch was the Deputy Director of the Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division at UNICEF, based in Geneva, responsible for the relationship with UNICEF’s 33 National Committees. He brings with him extensive experience working on children’s issues at the country and global level, especially in dealing with complex emergencies, peacebuilding and maternal and child health.

Mr. Veitch served as the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan from 2014 to 2016, and in Kyrgyzstan between 2010 to 2014. Prior to that Mr. Veitch was a Senior Programme Officer at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, responsible for liaison between the two organisations, especially in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Mr. Veitch was the Senior Programme Officer for UNICEF in Sudan, and he also spent several years working in Somalia as the UNICEF head of Central and Southern zones. He has worked for the UN and NGOs in several other countries in Africa and Asia.

Mr. Veitch holds a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He is married with three children and is currently in Fiji with his family.
UNDP RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE

Levan Bouadze

UNDP
Resident Representative
Levan assumed functions of Resident Representative for the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji in July 2019. The Office in Fiji covers 10 countries including Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. His prior two assignments were at UNDP headquarters in New York: most recently as Chief, Planning and Operations Support, Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia. He started in the United Nations in his native Georgia in 1996.
Marie Pegie Cauchois

Marie Pegie Cauchois

UNODC
UNODC Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser
Ms. Marie Pegie Cauchois has worked for the UN since 2012, first in UN Peace Keeping operations in South Sudan, Afghanistan, Central African Republic and Somalia, she then joined UNODC in 2017 and worked in Myanmar as Anti-Corruption Programme manager. She is now Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser and manages the Anti-Corruption Project in 14 Pacific Island countries. Before joining the UN, Ms. Pegie Cauchois worked in Vanuatu with AusAid/Australian Federal Police project, Transparency International and the Vanuatu Prime Minister’s Office.
Director ILO

Matin Karimli

ILO
Director
As Director for Pacific Island Countries, based in Suva, Fiji, Matin is responsible for supporting eleven ILO member States (Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, Tonga, and Cook Islands). In addition, the Office also provides technical support to non-member Pacific Island States. Originally from the Republic of Azerbaijan, Matin was the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection for 6 years prior to joining the office in Fiji.
Director UNESCO Pacific

Nisha

UNESCO
Director UNESCO Office for the Pacific
Nisha brings over 30 years of experiences in multi-sector development and humanitarian response to her current role. Nisha has worked internationally with Oxfam GB, Christian Aid, UNDP, UNIFEM and ILO in East and Horn of Africa, Arab States and South Asia, and with CSOs in India.
UNAIDS

Renata Ram

UNAIDS
Country Director
Renata Ram is the Country Director for the UNAIDS Pacific Office based in Fiji. Her role is to promote, support and provide guidance to national partners, civil society and the UN system in reaching Global AIDS targets by 2030 with a community-centred and human rights approach to rapidly scale up HIV services in Fiji & 13 Pacific Island Countries.

Before joining UNAIDS, Renata worked as a Programme Management Officer for the World Health Organization, working with the Ministry of Health in Fiji on the coordination of Fiji’s Zika-virus response. Renata has over 10 years’ experience of working in public health within the Pacific region for government, commercial, not-for profit, academic and international organizations.

She is a holder of a Master of Health Policy from the University of Sydney, post-graduate qualifications in Public Health, Health Services Management, Dental Therapy from the Fiji School of Medicine and Development Studies from the University of the South Pacific.
Sakiusa Tubuna

Sakiusa Tubuna

IFAD
Sub-regional Coordinator (Pacific)
Sakiusa Tubuna is the Sub-regional Coordinator for the Pacific, for the International Fund for Agricultural Development, based in Suva, Fiji. Mr. Tubuna brings with him a wealth of experience, working for the Fijian Government for 24 years, spending 2 years in the Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics and 22 years with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Mr. Tubuna holds a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of New England and Post Graduate Diplomas in Commerce (Economics), Development Economics and International Development from the University of the South Pacific.
FAO

Xiangjun Yao

FAO
FAO Representative and Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands
Ms Xiangjun Yao assumed her role as the FAO Sub Regional Coordinator for the Pacific in 2020. She oversees FAO’s work in providing policy advisory and technical assistance to its 14 Member Countries to improve food security, income-earning opportunities in agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and increasing resilience of small farmers and producers in the Pacific. She joined FAO Headquarters in June 2011 and has held leading roles in several technical divisions/offices within FAO.