Special Representative of the Secretary-General
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)
The UN Secretary-General appointed Markus Potzel of Germany as his new Deputy Special Representative (Political) for Afghanistan in June 2022.
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)
Indrika Ratwatte was appointed as the Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative (Development) for Afghanistan in November 2023.
He also serves as the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.
Mr. Ratwatte of Sri Lanka brings over 30 years of experience in humanitarian affairs and protection in complex and crisis settings, including over 14 years of working on Afghanistan and regional issues. He started his career with the United Nations in 1992, with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and continued his career with the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1993. His most recent positions have included Director of UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, where he previously also served as Deputy, and UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan. He served with UNHCR as Deputy Representative in Tanzania and Pakistan, along with prior assignments in Thailand, Croatia, China, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mr. Ratwatte holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, United States, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Sociology from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is also an Attorney-at-Law from Sri Lanka Law College.