Hillo, a Sudanese, will also serve as the U.N. Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) in Liberia.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, receiving the UN envoy on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Minister Shoniyin welcomed the new UN official, highlighting the wealth of experience he brings brought to the assignment.
Shoniyin, who also serves as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, emphasized the strong partner that the UNDP has been to Liberia, especially in all of the country’s post-war development efforts, recalling the period of the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease.
“The resilience and strong support from the UNDP and others gave us the courage and determination to fight back,” he said, adding, “That’s how we overcame and won the fight.”
Besides, the Acting Minister indicated the involvement of UNDP in a broad spectrum of the country’s development drive – governance, economic transformation, environment and climate change, private sector development, among others – which show that they have been part of every facet of the country’s development efforts.
“Having you with the wealth of experience that you’ve come with,” Mr. Shoniyin said, “we believe that the partnership will further deepen.”
He recalled Mr. Hillo’s stint in Liberia in the 1990s during his time with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
Shoniyin assured Hillo of Government’s fullest support, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Hillo said it was an honor to be designated by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to return to Liberia after nearly 20 years and to join the UN team here, though serving in this new capacity.
He said he is delighted coming back to Liberia that is not at war, but rather focused on consolidating peace and developing in every aspect of life; noting that is an honor coming back and seeing the United Nations becoming a more robust partner for the government and people of Liberia.
Reflecting on his last assignment in Syria, plagued by a vicious war, and coming to Liberia that is no longer at war, Hillo emphasized that “Peace is priceless.”
He committed to working together with the government and people to consolidate the peace in Liberia and focus on development, progress and prosperity.
Mr. Hillo succeeds Antonio Vigilante of Italy, who concluded his assignment a few months ago.
Before his appointment to Liberia, he served as the UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Damascus, Syria from August 2013.
Prior to his assignment in Syria, he served at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as Director for the Middle East and North Africa in Geneva, since November 2010.
Mr. Hillo was the UNHCR Regional Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2009-2010); UNHCR Representative in Tanzania (2006-2009); Deputy Reconstruction and Humanitarian Coordinator, U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in Baghdad (2005-2006); UNHCR Chief of Mission in Iraq (2003-2005); and Chef de Cabinet of the High Commissioner’s Office at UNHCR Headquarters (2001-2002).
Hillo graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree (LLB) from the University of Khartoum, Sudan, in 1986. He was born in 1963 and is married with five children.