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Relief Chief
Relief Chief

Relief Chief

A Manifesto for Saving Lives in Dire Times


250 Pages, 5.98 x 9.02

Formats: Cloth, EPUB

Cloth, $23.99 (US $23.99) (CA $31.99)

Publication Date: May 2022

ISBN 9781944691097

Rights: US & CA

Center for Global Development (May 2022)


eBook Editions Available

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Price: $23.99


Relief Chief is Mark Lowcock's behind-the-scenes account of his experience as the world's most senior humanitarian official—the UN Relief Chief. In his four years on the job, Lowcock coordinated the work of UN agencies, the Red Cross, and countless national and international humanitarian groups to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.

Appointed in 2017, Lowcock was witness to the biggest explosion in humanitarian need in modern history. Wars, droughts, floods, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, and then the COVID-19 global pandemic put humanitarian agencies under unprecedented strain. Long-standing crises like those in Syria, Yemen, and the Sahel got worse. New ones arose, in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Venezuela, and elsewhere. Over his tenure, Lowcock raised record amounts of money to tackle these problems, but this was not enough to prevent humanitarian agencies from being overwhelmed by the emergencies they were asked to deal with, as Lowcock documents from a personal, inside perspective.

Part memoir and part manifesto for reform, Relief Chief depicts the brutality, misery and inhumanity inflicted on innocent people in crises. Lowcock recounts what people he met in dozens of countries—especially women and children—shared with him about their plight and the help they needed. He warns that crises will continue to get worse without a renewed global effort to tackle their causes. But Relief Chief is also an uplifting story of lives saved and suffering reduced, and a detailed, practical agenda for solving crises faster and better in the future.

Author Biography

Mark Lowcock was appointed as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in May 2017, serving up to June 2021. He was previously Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. He has spent more than 30 years leading and managing responses to humanitarian crises across the globe. He has authored opinion articles for The Washington Post, the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, Le Monde, CNN, and others and is a Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Global Development. Lowock resides in London, UK.