Too often UN appointments are made entirely on political patronage and not at all on competence. This time the former has been tempered by the latter.
More than 100,000 homes remain damaged or destroyed in Gaza six months after a conflict with Israel, as lack of funds and a blockade continue to hamper reconstruction.
The Syrian government knows it's in a strong position. If the rebels don't agree the ceasefire, they may be crushed. Previous 'local ceasefires' have been a euphemism for surrender.
The Syrian government has said it is willing to suspend its aerial bombardment and artillery shelling of the northern city of Aleppo so a local ceasefire can be tested, a UN mediator says.
The UN is frequently accused of waste and incompetence. Maybe if they started appointing senior people on merit that might change.
If Andrew Lansley were to submit a CV for the top humanitarian role at the UN - which David Cameron is nominating him for - what would he write under "relevant experience"?
Terrorist kidnapping and extortion is now a multi-million pound industry, according to a UN report - and the average value of a foreign hostage is £1.7m.