Michael Keating (born 1959 in Kampala, Uganda) is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), a post he assumed in January 2016. UNSOM supports peace- and state-building in Somalia, using the UN's good offices and technical capacities in a wide range of areas including constitutional and electoral processes, security sector reform, human rights, economic development and humanitarian assistance.
His career has been divided between the private and public sectors. Before assuming his current role, he was Associate Director at Chatham House in London, where he initiated and directed a number of projects on topics including Afghanistan, natural resources and conflict, the Moving Energy Initiative, and humanitarian engagement with non-state armed groups.
Between 2012-15, he worked as an advisor to a number of conflict mediation bodies, including Intermediate and Search for Common Ground. From 2008 to 10, Mr. Keating served as the Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel, a policy group chaired by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
His UN career has included serving as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Syria (2014 – 15); as head of the team that developed the ‘Human Rights Up Front’ plan of action (2012/13); as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan (2010–12), Resident Coordinator in Malawi (2004 – 08) and assignments in Gaza/Jerusalem, New York City, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
His private sector experience includes five years in financial publishing in the City of London; working in television as Associate Producer on documentaries broadcast by the BBC and Channel Four; and running Media Natura, a management and communication consultancy whose clients included companies and public sector bodies engaged in environmental, human rights and development issues. He began his international career as Special Assistant to fr:Sadruddin Aga Khan in Geneva, working on diverse issues including nuclear non proliferation, UN, reform, environmental protection and religious tolerance.
Keating is married and has four children. He has a Master of Arts in history from the University of Cambridge.
He has written for a wide variety of journals, newspapers and other publications. Selected academic essays include:
‘The Contribution of Human Rights to Protecting People in Conflict’ (2016) with Richard Bennett in ‘Protection of Civilians’ (Ed Haidi Wilmot et al.), Oxford University Press https://global.oup.com/academic/product/protection-of-civilians-9780198729266?cc=us&lang=en&
‘Towards a Principled Approach to Engagement with Non-state Armed Groups for Humanitarian Purposes’ (2016) with Patricia Lewis, Chatham House. https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/towards-principled-approach-engagement-non-state-armed-groups-humanitarian-purposes
‘Addressing Natural Resource Conflicts’ (2015) with Oli Brown, Chatham House, 2015. https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/field/field_document/20150619AddressingConflictResourcesBrownKeating.pdf
‘Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism’ (2015) Paper for The Council of Councils Annual Conference, Council of Foreign Relations http://i.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/Council%20of%20Councils%20Annual%20Conference%202015_Panelist%20Papers_FINAL.pdf
‘Military and Civilian Assistance to Afghanistan 2001-14: An Incoherent Approach’ (2015) with Barbara Stapleton, Chatham House https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/field/field_document/20150722MilitaryCivilianAssistanceAfghanistanStapletonKeating.pdf
‘Input Subsidies to Improve Smallholder Maize Productivity in Malawi: Towards an African Green Revolution’ (2009) with Glenn Denning, Jeffrey Sachs et al. in PLoS Biology http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:192482
‘Counting the Cost of Corruption in Malawi: A Perspective from the Field’ (2007) Pacific McGeorge Global Business and Development Law Journal, Vol 20. http://lawlib.wlu.edu/CLJC/index.aspx?mainid=485&issuedate=2008-03-20
‘Aid, Diplomacy and Facts on the Ground – The Case of Palestine’ (2005) Book edited with Anne Le More and Robert Lowe, Chatham House/Brookings https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/books/archive/view/63288
‘Dilemmas of Humanitarian Assistance in Afghanistan’ (1998) in ‘Fundamentalism Reborn?’ Ed William Maley, New York University Press 1998 http://nyupress.org/books/9780814755860/
The World Today. Daily Challenges of the UN Chief in Somalia. June 2016 https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/twt/michael-keating
Guardian. Aid Agencies Must Re-wire their Approach to Refugees’ Energy Needs June 2015 https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jun/20/aid-agencies-refugees-energy-access-moving-energy-initiative-unhcr-einstein
New York Times – An Afghan Write Off is Not an Option. January 2013 https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/opinion/global/an-afghanistan-write-off-isnt-an-option.html?_r=0
Guardian - Real Security in Afghanistan depends upon people’s basic needs being met. January 2013 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/21/security-afghanistan-basic-needs