Mark Lowcock

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Mark Andrew Lowcock (2013)

Sir Mark Andrew Lowcock[1] KCB (born 25 July 1962) is a British economist and accountant who has been serving as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs since 2017. Prior to his appointment by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the 12 May 2017, Lowcock was the Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development (DFID) from June 2011 to September 2017.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Lowcock attended Culford School in Suffolk before attending Oxford University, where he graduated with a degree in Economics and History. He was later awarded a Master’s degree in Economics from Birkbeck College, University of London, before moving to Boston to study economics and business as a graduate fellow.[3] He is a qualified accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Career in the UK[edit]

Lowcock joined the then Overseas Development Administration in 1985. He was the Private Secretary to Minister for Overseas Development Baroness Chalker of Wallasey from 1992 to 1994, the Deputy Head and Head of the Department for International Development Regional Office for Central Africa from 1994 to 1997, the Head of European Union Department from 1997 to 1999, the Head of the Regional Office for East Africa, the Director of Finance and Corporate Performance from 2001 to 2003, the Director General of Corporate Performance and Knowledge Sharing from 2003 to 2006, the Director General of Policy and International from 2006 to 2008, the Director General of Country Programmes from 2008 to 2011.[5]

Lowcock was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development on 9 June 2011.[6]

He has made speeches on development, in Delhi (on the future of international development), Karachi (on how to get economic growth in a changing world), Berlin (on development agencies and conflict) and Addis Ababa (on economic development in Ethiopia).[7] As of 2015, Lowcock was paid a salary of between £160,000 and £164,999 by the department, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[8]

Lowcock oversaw the Department during the period in which the UK increased its aid budget to 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product.[9] World leaders first pledged to meet the 0.7% target 35 years ago in a 1970 General Assembly Resolution.[10]

Career with the UN[edit]

As the Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC) he is responsible for the oversight of all emergencies requiring United Nations humanitarian assistance. He also acts as the central focal point for governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental relief activities. The ERC also leads the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), a unique inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving the key United Nations and non-United Nations humanitarian partners. In a country affected by a disaster or conflict, the ERC may appoint a Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) to ensure response efforts are well organized. The HC works with government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and affected communities[11]

Since 2019, Lowcock has been a member of the World Economic Forum High-Level Group on Humanitarian Investing, co-chaired by Børge Brende, Kristalina Georgieva and Peter Maurer.[12]

Other activities[edit]


In 2011, Lowcock was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).[14] In the 2017 New Year Honours, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) for public service, particularly to International Development.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Lowcock is married with children[16]


  1. ^ "New Year's Honours list 2017" (PDF). Government Digital Service. 30 December 2016. p. 5. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints Mark Lowcock of United Kingdom Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Emergency Relief Coordinator". United Nations.
  3. ^ Chambers, Joshua (2 November 2011). Interview: Mark Lowcock. Civil Service World. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  4. ^ Read, Dave (18 December 2012). Mark Lowcock: The Man with a Plan Public Finance International. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  5. ^ Government biography Permanent Secretary, Mark Lowcock, Biography. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  6. ^ Government press release (9 June 2011). New top civil servant for DFID 28 January 2014.
  7. ^ Government speech transcript (16 October 2012). The Future of International Development Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 - GOV.UK". 17 December 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  9. ^ Dudman, Jane (14 March 2013). 'On your bike: partnership and engagement at DfID – interview' The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  10. ^ UN Millennium Project. ‘The 0.7% target: An in-depth look’ Archived 18 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  11. ^
  12. ^ World Economic Forum 2019 Annual Meeting launching a new Humanitarian Investing Initiative World Economic Forum, press release of January 18, 2019.
  13. ^ Members International Gender Champions (IGC).
  14. ^ "LOWCOCK, Mark Andrew". Who's Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  15. ^ "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N3.
  16. ^
Positions in intergovernmental organisations
Preceded by
Stephen O'Brien (United Kingdom)
Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator