Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Roza Otunbayeva

Roza Otunbayeva was appointed in September 2022 as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA.

Ms. Otunbayeva has more than 35 years of professional experience in leadership, diplomacy, civic engagement and international cooperation.

She served as President of the Kyrgyz Republic (2010-2011) and on three occasions as Foreign Minister, most recently as Acting Minister in 2005. She was a Member of Parliament (2007-2010) and served as Deputy Prime Minister of the Soviet Kyrgyz Republic (1986-89) and later in 1991. 

Ms. Otunbayeva has served as Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States of America and Canada (1992-1994) and to the United Kingdom (1997-2002).  From 1989 to 1991, she was President of the Soviet National Commission for UNESCO. 

Ms. Otunbayeva also served with the UN as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) (2002-2004). She is a member of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation and the Head of the Roza Otunbayeva Initiative Foundation in Kyrgyzstan. 

Ms. Otunbayeva holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from Moscow State University and a degree from the Philosophy Faculty of the Moscow State University. She is fluent in Kyrgyz, Russian and English. 

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political)

Markus Potzel

On 17 June 2022, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Markus Potzel of Germany as his new Deputy Special Representative (Political) for Afghanistan in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.  

Mr. Potzel brings to the position over 27 years of professional experience in diplomacy and international cooperation, including eight years of professional experience working in and on Afghanistan. Most recently, he served as Ambassador of Germany to Afghanistan.  

Mr. Potzel has held several senior positions with the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as German Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2017-2021), Commissioner for Crisis Management (since 2016), Ambassador of Germany to Afghanistan (2014-2016) and Head of the German Federal Foreign Office Middle East Division (2010-2014).  He also served as Personal Assistant to the Foreign Affairs Minister (2006-2009), in the Parliamentary and Cabinet Division of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2004-2005), as Head of the Economics and Trade Section in the German Embassy in Tehran (2000-2004) and as Head of the Cultural Section in the German Embassy in Singapore (1997-2000). 

In 2010, he was a visiting Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs studying the relations between Iran and Afghanistan. 

Mr. Potzel holds a master’s degree in Persian and English language and literature studies from the Humboldt University Berlin in Germany and the University of Dushanbe in Tajikistan.  He is fluent in German, English, Persian and Dari.  

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Humanitarian), a.i.

Daniel Endres

Mr. Daniel Endres of Switzerland took charge on 8 June 2023 as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan a.i., serving also as the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, a.i. 

Mr. Endres recently served as Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for East Africa, from 2021 until 2022, based in Nairobi. He has also held various senior leadership functions with UNHCR, at field and Headquarters duty stations, in International Protection, External Relations and Emergencies. Mr. Endres was the Director of the Division of International Protection (DIP)/Division of External Relations Global Compact for Refugees and UNHCR’s Director of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (2016-2020) based in Geneva. 

Prior to this, he was the Director of UNHCR’s Division of External Relations (2012-2016). Mr. Endres held many other key roles: he was the Director of the Regional Bureau in Brussels (2011-2012) and Representative of UNHCR in Iraq (2008-2011). Mr. Endres also worked as the Head of Emergency and Technical Support Service (2006-2008) and Emergency and Security Service (2005-2006) in UNHCR. Mr. Endres also served as Deputy Representative of UNHCR in Kabul, Afghanistan (2001-2005).