Annika Sandlund new UNHCR representative in the Nordic and Baltic countries

Annika Sandlund, UNHCR Representative in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
Annika Sandlund, UNHCR Representative in the Nordic and Baltic countries. UNHCR/Max-Michel Kolijn

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has announced that Ms. Annika Sandlund has assumed the function of Representative to the Nordic and Baltic countries, covering UNHCR’s activities in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, as of 1 June 2023.

Ms. Sandlund, a national of Finland, brings more than 22 years of experience from the organization. Her most recent post was as Head of Partnerships in the Division for External Relations at UNHCRs Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, but previously she has worked in Turkey, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. Ms. Sandlund has a law degree from Essex University and a journalist degree from Svenska Social och Kommunal högskolan at Helsinki University.

Father sent to Sweden as a war child

Historically, the Nordic and Baltic region has shown leadership and innovation when it comes to refugee protection, from the Nansen passport to the creation of refugee specific civil society organizations. Personally, I remember stories from my father who was sent from Finland to Sweden as a war child with a carbon piece of paper round his neck. He is now 85 and still has that piece of cardboard at home in Helsinki. For me it is a reminder of how the people and policies of this region have saved lives and made a difference for families forced to flee,” says Annika Sandlund.

The Governments and civil society organizations are crucial partners for UNHCR’s work here and around the world. I am looking forward to continue this important collaboration at this critical time when global displacement is at its highest level ever.

As the Representative, Ms. Sandlund is the highest representative of the High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in the Nordic and Baltic region. She succeeds Henrik M. Nordentoft, who finalized his five-year assignment as Representative in April 2023.