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Karl Steinacker, Freelancer, ehemaliger Manager und Diplomat bei UN/UNHCR

aufgezeichnetes Interview mit Karl Steinacker

Treffen Sie Karl Steinacker am

Fr., 13.5., 12:30 – 13:30 Uhr im WebEx: https://fu-berlin.webex.com/fu-berlin/j.php?MTID=md44af86aab818f5781151d092866ef15

Karl Steinacker (born in 1960 in the Federal Republic of Germany) is a graduate of the Political Science faculty of the Free University of Berlin (Germany). Under the auspicies of the late Professor Derek Bowett he studied Public International Law at Cambridge University (United Kingdom) and published a thesis on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for which he was awarded a Diploma. In those early years, he published a few academic articles, mainly on issues relating to international law, refugees and migration.

He started his professional career by working for German development institutions, such as DSE (1987), as well as GTZ and BMZ (1991). He joined the United Nations in 1988, first as junior officer with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Tanzania, and then with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) where he was based in the Gaza-Strip (at the time Occupied Palestinian Territories) during the 1st Intifada. Between 1992 and 2018 he served in various functions for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), first as relief worker and later as senior manager and diplomat. He worked often in conflict zones, such as in the refugee camps following the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 or the Kosovo war in 1999. He led teams in Sudan, Sierra Leone, the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and in the Sahel (in Mali from 1996 to 1998 and as the UNHCR Representative in Niger from 2012 to 2016). In 2004, he also served as senior policy advisor to the Humanitarian Co-ordinator with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

In UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland), he perfomed in various functions, such as in programme and change management. He set-up the Field Information and Co-ordination Support Section, being the first information management unit in the organization, comprising of statistics, demographics, and GIS. Hence, in 2006, he was elected co-chair of the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group (UNGIWG) bringing together 32 UN agencies and programmes, at the time, promoting the idea of a United Nations Spatial Data Initiative (UNSDI). As UNHCR appointed first co-chair (2005-2008) of the Global Cluster Working Group on Camp Co-ordination and Camp Management (CCCM) he participated actively in the humanitarian reform process.

For a number of years he was the responsible manager for refugee registration in UNHCR. He oversaw the modernization of UNHCR’s systems, the introduction of biometrics, and the development of a strategy for digital identity and trust. By the time he left the United Nations in 2018, he was Head of the UNHCR Global Service Centre in Copenhagen (Denmark).

Since then he is continuing to work on digital identity and trust as a freelance expert. However, the focus has been gradually expanding in 2019: As partner of the Digital Equity association and Digital Advisor to the International Civil Society Centre, issues beyond forced displacement have become more central to his work. He enjoys a regular teaching assignment at Berlin’s Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences (ASH). (Quelle: https://www.karl-steinacker.digital/biographical-note)