The Resident Coordinator Office

The Resident Coordinator Office (RCO) supports the work of the United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) who heads the UN Multi-Country Office covering Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and Tokelau.  

The  RCO is an integral part of the Resident Coordinator system, to ensure effective coordination of all UN agencies dealing with operational activities for development at the country level, regardless of their presence, to deliver as a One UN.

These UN agencies form the UN Country Team, (UNCT) which is the main inter-agency mechanism in-country for inter-agency coordination, coherence, and decision-making.

The Resident Coordinator  leads the UN Country Team of 15 UN agencies to ensure the coordination, harmonisation, and simplification of their support to achieve national development goals. The UNCT consults with the Governments to define and agree on the UN strategic responses to country development priorities.  

The Resident Coordinator leads the RCO to coordinate activities related to common programming including Agenda 2030, joint programmes and development activities.This is done in conformity with the objectives and priorities of the Governments, and the mandates and objectives of the United Nations agencies.

The RCO supports the UN Resident Coordinator in:

  • Strategic Planning ;
  • Economics ;
  • Partnership and Development Finance ;
  • Results Management and Reporting;
  • Communications and Advocacy.

In the next five years (2023 - 2027) the RCO will lead the coordination of the UN support towards the development priorities of the 4 countries through;

Joint Programmes

  • United Nations Sustainable Development 'Cooperation Framework 2023 - 2027' for Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau.
  • European Union and UN Spotlight Initiative to strengthen national efforts and commitments towards ending domestic violence and intimate partner violence.
  • India-UN Development Partnership Fund Samoa Knowledge Society Initiative.
  • Joint SDG Fund - Social Protection Systems
  • Joint SDG Fund - Food Systems Development Emergency Modality.
  • Joint SDG Fund - The Ecosystems Services Programme.
  • UNPS Fund/ UN - NZ Partnership - Women in Leadership, Markets for Change, Birth Registration and Programme on Anti Corruption.

New Initiatives and large-scale programmes

  • UN support to the Chairmanship of the Alliance of Small Islands Developing States (AOSIS)
  • Climate Action Pathways for Island Transport (CAP-IT): Accelerating the Decarbonisation of Samoa's Land Maritime Transport Sectors
  • Mercy Ship Organic Certification System project
  • Samoa Digital Transformation Strategy

Ongoing coordination support

  • UNCT Regional and MCO meetings
  • Joint Steering Committee meetings
  • Partners and stakeholder roundtables and consultations
  • Joint programme meetings
  • UN SDG advocacy campaigns and other events.

Meet the Team

The RCO team consists of:

  • Strategic Planning and Team Leader (a.i)- Travis Mitchell
  • Economist - Mr Travis Mitchell
  • Partnerships and Development Finance - Vacant
  • Data Management, Results Monitoring and Reporting - Ms LaToya Lee
  • Communications and Advocacy - Ms Aterina Samasoni
  • Executive Assistant - Ms. Morita Sapolu
  • Administrative Assistant - Samu Risatisone
  • Human Rights Adviser - Ms Momoko Nomura
  • Peace and Development Officer - Mr Romulus Ropati

The UN Resident Coordinator

As the UN Resident Coordinator heading a UN Multi-Country Office that serves the Cook Islands, Niue Samoa, and Tokelau, Mr Themba Kalua leads a UN Country Team of over 15 UN agencies, some with a physical presence in Samoa and others operating from MCO Fiji.

Mr. Kalua brings more than 20 years of experience in sustainable development, development coordination, strategic planning, environment and climate change, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and humanitarian action.

Prior to his appointment as the UN Resident Coordinator in Samoa, he served as the UN Women Country Representative in Papua New Guinea, where he led efforts to address high levels of gender-based violence, promote women’s political participation and economic empowerment, and established and chaired the donor coordination mechanism for gender equality and women’s empowerment. He also chaired the inter-agency core design team that led the drafting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Papua New Guinea.

Mr Kalua also served as the Senior Development Coordination Officer at the UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) Regional Office for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, supporting the delivery of the United Nations development system reform in Africa and policy advisory services to UN Resident Coordinators in 54 African countries, contributing to the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, Agenda 2063 of the African Union, and Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Kalua held various senior positions at UN Women. These included Deputy Representative in the South Africa Multi-Country Office and liaison to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Head of Programmes, Strategic Planning and Coordination Specialist for East and Southern Africa based at the regional office in Kenya, and UN System Coordination Advisor at UN Women headquarters in New York.

He also worked with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Food Programme (WFP) on various sustainable development issues at country, regional and headquarters levels.

Mr. Kalua holds an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, a Master’s degree in Strategic Management from the University of Derby in the United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the University of Malawi





Themba Kalua

Themba Kalua

Resident Coordinator