Group of Independent Eminent Experts on the Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action



Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari

Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, CFR, OCORT, a scholar-diplomat, is the Founder/Chairman of the Board of Directors of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, a non-governmental think-tank on research and policy studies on conflict prevention and resolution as well as democratization and development in Africa. SCDDD seeks to promote the evolution of Africa into a prosperous, politically stable and globally respected continent which is motivated by the culture of good governance. 

Professor Gambari has had an illustrious career, spanning academia, government and international diplomacy, culminating with his appointment as the first United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa (1999-2005). In that capacity, he worked closely with heads of government, key policymakers as well as institutions in the continent to develop the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). During this period, he was concurrently the Resident Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission to Angola (2002-2003). He has been a delegate to the Assembly of the OAU/African Union as a national delegate (1984-1985) and as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s delegation (2000-2012). He was the Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid (1990-1994) during which he worked closely with African governments to coordinate UN policy to eradicate apartheid, thereby building trust and confidence with governments and policymakers in member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Ambassador Gambari was Under-Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (2005-2007). In that period, he also operated as UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Cyprus, Zimbabwe and Myanmar. On 22 May 2007, the Secretary-General entrusted him with the Good Offices Mandate on Myanmar. He was also appointed in 2007 by the Secretary-General as Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Iraq Compact and Other Issues, positions he held until 2009.

He served his country, Nigeria, as Director-General at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs; Minister of External Affairs (1984-1985) and subsequently Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (1990-1999).  He also served as a delegate at the 2014 National Conference on the restructuring and promotion of national unity in Nigeria. At international level, Professor Gambari held numerous United Nations positions, including Chairman of the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the UNSG's Special Adviser on Africa. Professor Gambari also served as Joint AU/UN Special Representative in Darfur and Head of UNAMID, which was then the largest international peacekeeping operation in the world and the first hybrid Mission. He had in different capacities, worked with four successive United Nations Secretary-General (Perez de Cuella, Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon). He currently co-chairs the commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance at the Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Stimson Centre at Washington D.C. In January, 2017, he was appointed a member and is currently Deputy Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons of African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a Specialized Agency of the African Union for the promotion of good governance at the political, economic and corporate levels. In the same vein, he was appointed in 2016 by Patricia Scotland, QC, the Commonwealth Secretary General as the Special Envoy to Zambia on Elections and reappointed in 2017 as the Special Envoy for Democratic Stability and Elections 2020. In addition, he is a member of the Senior Working Group (SWG) of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP). Also in May, 2017, he was honoured with the Global Leadership Award by the University of South Florida, USA.  

Professor Gambari attended Provincial (now Government) Secondary School, Ilorin before proceeding to the Floreat Collegium Kings College, Lagos. He received his B.SC (Econs) from the London School of Economics (1968), and his MA and PhD in Political Science/International Relations (1970, 1974) from Columbia University, USA. He has taught at Universities in the United States, Nigeria, and Singapore and has to his credit the authorship of a number of books.  He has received several academic and national honours, including the "Commander of Federal Republic of Nigeria" (CFR), and the "Order of the Companion of the Oliver R. Tambo" (OCORT) of South Africa. He is the Pioneer Chancellor of Kwara State University (KWASU), Ilorin, Nigeria and as well as the current Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Governing Council of Bayero University, Kano (BUK). He is married with children and grandchildren.