Our Team in Papua New Guinea

Mr. Richard S. Howard

Richard Howard

Resident Coordinator
Mr Richard Howard is the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea.

Over more than 30 years, he has acquired an impressive portfolio in management and research, economic growth, gender equality and inclusion.

Before taking up his role in PNG, Mr Howard was the United Nations Resident Coordinator ad-interim in Nepal, where he also served as Country Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Mr. Howard worked as Senior Regional Specialist with ILO in Thailand. He was Chief Technical Advisor to Private Sector Partnerships on Health for Internal Migrants, in China.

A Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia with research focusing on gender, ethnicity, and national identity, Mr Howard is a Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology from the University of Illinois, Chicago and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina.

On 7 December 2022, he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as the UN Resident Coordinator for Papua New Guinea.
UNDP Resident Representative; Mr. Nicholas Booth

Nicholas Booth

Resident Representative
Mr. Nicholas Booth formally commenced his duties as the new UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea on September 22, 2023. Mr. Booth, who is a national of the United Kingdom, has served as an international civil servant under different UN agencies for 20 years.

A barrister with law degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the United Kingdom, Mr. Booth has devoted his career to solving issues surrounding rule of law, access to justice and conflict prevention. He joins UNDP Papua New Guinea from UNDP’s Regional Hub in Bangkok, where he most recently took charge of managing the Regional Programme and Global Policy Network.
UNFPA Country Representative

Saira Shameem

UNFPA Country Representative
Saira has been involved in the field of health and human rights for over 27 years, spending the majority of this time within the UN system. Prior to her appointment as UNFPA Representative to Papua New Guinea, she served for four years as the UNFPA Deputy Representative to Fiji and Deputy Director for the Pacific Sub-Regional Office, covering 14 island countries and territories, where she strengthened the delivery of results in a severely climate-affected context. She has also served as a Political Scanning Specialist with the UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok, and as the Programme Advisor and Head-of-Office of UNFPA Malaysia, contributing towards advancing the UNFPA agenda on the intersectionality of socio-political and economic barriers to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Before joining UNFPA, she was the Executive Director of the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), a regional non-governmental organization focused on improving the lives of marginalized women and girls, and their right to sexual and reproductive health. She has also served in various capacities, including as Officer-in-Charge, of a regional UNDP governance programme for strengthening local government authorities and civil society for good urban governance, across the Asia Pacific.

A Malaysian national, Saira holds a Master of Science in Public Health for Development from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Health Science and Occupational Health and Safety from Edith Cowan University in Australia, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics, from Otago University in New Zealand.

Photo of Adrian Edwards

Adrian Edwards

Regional Representative
Regional Representative, UNHCR Multi-Country Office Canberra. Formerly UNHCR Rep in Montenegro; UNHCR Head of Global News & Media. Background in human rights policy and international journalism. Switzerland, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, Sudan & Cambodia with the UN. Vietnam, Hong Kong, South Korea, China in hackdom.
Mr. Bir C. Mandal - Head of FAO Office in PNG

Bir C. Mandal

Head of Office
Mr. Bir C. Mandal has over 33 years of experience with World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Prior to joining as Head of FAO Office in PNG, he worked as Deputy FAO Representative in Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) and Chief Technical Advisor in Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. He had also held positions as International Consultant – Deputy Emergency Coordinator as well as Head of Darfur Operations from January 2004 to October 2005 based in Khartoum and Nyala, South Darfur, Sudan; during April 2002–December 2003, he headed FAO Area Office, Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan. He served as International Consultant and Head of WFP Sub-Office in El Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan during 2001–2002. He was Head of Sub-Office, WFP/UN Afghanistan (1997-98); Agronomist/Seed Specialist, FAO/UN Afghanistan (1988-96) based in different parts of Afghanistan and Islamabad; and Assistant Plant Protection Officer, Agriculture Extension and Research Project, Taulihawa, Nepal (1983-88).

Mr. Bir C. Mandal has published over 100 peer-reviewed write-ups/papers and these were highly appreciated by the concerned staff members.
Dr Kamenga

Claudes Kamenga

Dr Claudes Kamenga joined the UN in Papua New Guinea in 2021 after serving as UNICEF Representative in Benin. He has worked as Regional Chief HIV/AIDS for UNICEF West and Central Africa. He brings extensive experience in the field of health and epidemiology, from service delivery to advocacy and disease prevention and control. Dr Kamenga holds a medical degree from the University of Kinshasa School of Medicine and a master’s degree in public health (epidemiology) from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Dr Sevil Huseynova

Dr Sevil Huseynova

Country Representative for Papua New Guinea.
Dr Sevil Huseynova engagement with WHO spans over 17 years where she previously held the posts of WHO Representative for the Solomon Islands from June 2016 until early 2022; WHO Country Liaison Officer for Northern Micronesia (Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Marshal Islands), Medical Officer for TB, HIV, Leprosy and
Communicable Diseases Control Programmes in Baghdad, Iraq and in Kabul, Afghanistan where she led and managed large TB and HIV/AIDS and Leprosy control programmes in complex environments.

A strong advocate for cooperation and action on public health issues at all levels of society, Dr Huseynova has worked extensively with governments, donor partners, service providers and civil society.

Prior to joining WHO, Dr Huseynova served in a number of non-governmental organizations. Among them were Project Hope, a US-based organization with a field office in Kyrgystan, as the country manager and where she worked with a team to establish and strengthen all essential health system components relating TB control including governance, health service delivery, financing, health information and access to essential medicines and technologies and Save the Children and Relief International, USA with a strong focus on capacity building in public health targeting refugee and internally displaced population settings.

Previously, Dr Huseynova has also been engaged in clinical work, research and programme management.

Trained as a pediatrician, Dr Huseynova holds Doctorate of Medicine from the Azerbaijan Medical University and a Masters degree in Public Health from the State University of New York.
Joeena Mariea Simpson _ UNOPS Country Manager, Papua New Guinea

Joeena Simpson

Country Manager
Joeena Simpson is the Country Manager for the United Nations Office of Project Services. As part of the leadership team for the UN in Papua New Guinea, Jo will work in partnership with the PNG Government to respond to four interconnected challenges: sustainable infrastructure, climate change resilience, the empowerment of women in non -traditional roles and emergency response. Jo brings to the role a breadth of experience in infrastructure, social and economic development initiatives, safeguards and essential service delivery in a range of humanitarian contexts and will ensure that the strategic priorities of PNG Government consistently inform UNOPS approach to serving the people of PNG.
She has worked throughout the Pacific, including Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Africa and Asia in a range of international development roles. Prior to joining UNOPS , Jo was the Transport Sector Development Manager under the PNG Australia Partnership for Development where she contributed to sustainable investment in Land, Aviation and Maritime Infrastructure throughout PNG and supported a range of innovative initiatives in public sector governance and in particular, promotion of women to leadership positions. She has a Masters in Technology and Innovation Management from the University of Queensland.
Manoela Manova

Manoela Manova

Country Director
Ms Manoela Manova is the newly appointed UNAIDS Country Director for Papua New Guinea, and took up her assignment on 1st April 2022.
Ms Manova is a development and public health specialist with more than 20 years of experience in development assistance programmes, public health, and HIV, and has served in a variety of leadership positions both at regional and country level in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the Caribbean. She brings a wealth of experience in the areas of inclusive development and evaluation of National AIDS Strategic Plans, development of Investment Cases and efficiency studies for HIV response, National HIV Sustainability and Transition plans and roadmaps and mobilization of multisectoral partnerships for their implementation. She has worked on introducing Public-Private Partnership for increased access to treatment for PLH and piloting of Social Contracting as a tool to secure government Funding for HIV prevention services among key populations.

Ms Manova is Bulgarian and holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Management from the University of Economy in Bulgaria and Post Graduate Diplomas in International Business and Financial Management from London School of Economics, United Kingdom.
Matin Karimli

Matin Karimli

Director for Pacific Island Countries
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.
Mr. Serhan Aktoprak - Chief of IOM Mission in Papua New Guinea

Serhan Aktoprak

Chief of Mission
Mr. Serhan Aktoprak took his functions in October 2021 as Chief of IOM Mission in Papua New Guinea. He has 15 years of experience in the field of migration management. From November 2018 until October 2021, he was the Head of Private Sector Partnerships Unit within International Cooperation and Partnerships Department of IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, responsible for the effective coordination of IOM’s partnership with the private sector globally. He was Chief of Mission (2015-2018), Programme Manager and Officer in Charge (2011-2015), Project Officer (2009-2011) and Legal Officer (2007-2008) with the IOM Mission in Azerbaijan. From 2008 to 2009, he worked as Technical Programme Specialist in the IOM Mission in the Russian Federation.

Holding a Master’s Degree in European Studies, he is the author and co-author of a number of publications in the migration field. Serhan speaks English, Russian, Azerbaijani and Turkish.
Themba Arthur Kalua _ UN Women Country Representative

Themba Arthur Kalua

UN Women
UN Women Country Representative
Themba is the UN Women Country Representative. Prior to coming to PNG, Themba was the Senior Development Coordination Advisor and Practice Leader for Leave No One Behind (LNOB), Gender Equality and Human Rights at UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) in the Regional Office for Africa in Ethiopia. In this role he provided policy and advisory services to UN Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams in 54 African countries in the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and SDGs.

Themba previously worked for UN Women as the Deputy Representative in charge of Programme and Operations in the South Africa Multi-Country Office covering Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and liaison to Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, he worked as UN System Coordination Advisor at UN Women Headquarters in New York, where he coordinated UN Women’s engagement in the repositioning of the UN Development System and supported UNCTs globally in the implementation of UNCT-SWAP gender equality scorecard.

He has worked with several UN agencies in different capacities including UNEP, UNDP, and WFP in Headquarters, Regional Offices and Country Offices. Themba has an Executive MBA from University of Cape Town in South Africa, a Master of Science degree in Strategic Management with a focus on Change Management from the University of Derby in the United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the University of Malawi.