Overview: UN coordination structures depend on the type and structure of the UN Mission. UN Missions are typically made up of three elements: Political Mission, Development Mission and Humanitarian Mission.

Political Missions

Are run from a UN Political Office and are headed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) who reports directly to the Secretary-General. In the case of Somalia, the SRSG, heads the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and is deputised by two DSRSGs, one of who is the Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator (HC/RC).


Development Missions

Are usually coordinated by a Resident Coordinator (RC) who heads the UN Development Program (UNDP) and leads the UN Country Team (UNCT), bringing together all UN agencies with operations in a given country. The UN Country Team excludes non-UN agencies; it is the primary, top level UN coordination structure. 

Read more on UNCTs here


Humanitarian Mission

In countries where the UN has a Humanitarian Mission, as in Somalia, a Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) is set up. The HCT is responsible for coordinating the humanitarian response across the whole country, working with both UN agencies and non-UN organisations. The HCT is headed by the Humanitarian Co-ordinator (HC). In Somalia, the HC reports directly to the UN's Emergency Relief Co-ordinator (ERC) based at the UN's Headquarters in New York.

In Somalia, like many other UN missions, the roles of Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Coordinator have been combined and the two posts are held by the same person (double-hatted), often referred to using the abbreviation HC/RC. The HC/RC currently also holds the function of the UN Designated Official (DO), as the most senior UN official responsible for security issues (ideally, this function lies in the responsibility of the UN official most responsible for UN programming in country). Once fully structurally integrated in 2014, the HC/RC will be triple headed by also assuming the role of DSRSG for humanitarian affairs.