August 15 - Issue 24 - Secretariat Completes Senior Management Appointments

New York, August 15, 2007 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently made six new senior appointments and reportedly has completed the staffing of the Senior Management Group and his team of advisors. Two new vacancies arose, however, and have not been filled yet.

Chief Information Technology Officer (Assistant Secretary-General)

  • Choi Soon-hong of South Korea was appointed on July 6. He will be "responsible for all substantive and operational needs on information and communication technologies of the United Nations," and in particular "modernizing" the UN.
  • Mr. Choi's holds a PhD from George Washington University. His experience includes research in strategic management and innovation. Most recently he served as the IMF's Head of Information Technology.
  • The position of Chief IT Officer was proposed by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan as part of UN reform and approved by the General Assembly in July 2006. When Mr. Choi takes up the post on September 1, 2007 he will be the first person to hold the position.

Executive Secretary of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) (Under-Secretary-General)

  • Noeleen Heyzer of Singapore was appointed on July 30 to lead ESCAP. Based in Bangkok, ESCAP is an intergovernmental forum covering the Asia-Pacific region. It serves as the UN's development arm for the region and is the largest and most comprehensive of the UN's five Regional Commissions. UNESCAP aims to promote economic and social progress - focusing on "poverty reduction, managing globalization, and emerging social issues."
  • Ms. Heyzer has a background as an advocate for women's rights. She has been serving as the Executive Director of UNIFEM, and she was active in advancing the Security Council's adoption of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in 2000.
  • Ms. Heyzer replaces Kim Hak-Su (Republic of Korea), who held the post since 2000.

Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) (Under-Secretary-General)

  • Bader Al-Dafa of Qatar was appointed on July 30 to lead ESCWA. Based in Beirut, ESCWA is "the main general economic and social development forum within the United Nations system for Western Asia", according to its website. It coordinates with "the major departments/offices of the United Nations at Headquarters and of specialized agencies and intergovernmental organizations, such as the League of Arab States, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of the Islamic Conference." Mr. Al-Dafa was sworn in on August 13.
  • Mr. Al-Dafa was Qatar's ambassador to the US. He has also held diplomat posts to Russia, France, Egypt and Spain, and the Organization of American States. He also has experience in the non-governmental sector, in particular low-income house-building programs, landmine-removal, children's hospitals, and women's empowerment.
  • Al-Dafa replaces Ms. Mervat Tallawy of Egypt.

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations

  • Edmond Mulet of Guatemala was appointed on July 27. He will be responsible for operations of UN peacekeeping, including the new United Nations-African Union force for Darfur.
  • Mr. Mulet has experience as journalist as well as a legislator in Guatemala, and he has served as Guatemala's ambassador both to the U.S. and the European Union. Currently he serves as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
  • He will take office on September 1.
  • Mr. Mulet replaces Hédi Annabi of Tunisia, who has been appointed, in turn, as Head of MINUSTAH (see below).

Special Representative and Head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Assistant Secretary-General)

  • Hédi Annabi of Tunisia was appointed on July 27 to serve as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSTAH. He will be responsible for the mission's 7,200 troops and 1,500 police officers.
  • Annabi has been working at the UN for 26 years and serving as the ASG for more than ten years. He has also worked in the area of humanitarian affairs in Asia. Annabi currently serves as the ASG for peacekeeping operations, the position about to be taken over by Edmond Mulet. The exchange of roles resulted from Ban's having named Annabi as a long-time UN official who should retire at the end of his contract, although he did not arrange for a replacement right away. Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guehenno, who directs the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, reportedly argued for Annabi to continue working for the Department.
  • Annabi will take up his role as head of MINUSTAH on September 1.

Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)

  • Dmitry Titov of Russia was appointed on July 27 to hold a new ASG position approved in July in the General Assembly. The new position is part of the peacekeeping reforms proposed by Secretary-General Ban, which also establishes a Department of Field Support and narrows the mandate of the DPKO. It is unclear when Mr. Titov will take up his new post.
  • Mr. Titov has been working on UN peacekeeping efforts for 16 years, with a special focus on rule of law and security sector reform. Most recently he was serving as the head of the Africa peacekeeping division.
  • While all other permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, UK, US) have high-level positions in the UN Secretariat in New York, Russia did not. As ASG, Mr. Titov will hold the highest rank currently held by a Russian national at the UN.

Update on Senior Management Group

On July 13, the Spokesperson provided a list of senior advisors and staff in the Secretariat. These appointments reportedly complete the staffing of the Senior Management Group (SMG). The positions are at the Director (D-2) level or above.

  • Asha-Rose Migiro (Tanzania), Deputy Secretary-General
  • Vijay Nambiar (India), Chef de Cabinet
  • Kim Won Soo (Republic of Korea), Deputy Chef de Cabinet and Special Adviser
  • Robert Orr (U.S.), Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning
  • Nicholas Haysom (South Africa), Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs
  • Michael Meyer (U.S.), Director of Communications and Speechwriting
  • Alice Hecht (Belgium), Chief of Protocol
  • Michèle Montas (Haiti), Spokesperson

Most senior officials reportedly are receiving two-year contracts, and Ban intends to limit high-level appointments to a maximum of five years. (The limit applies only to the same office and would not inhibit staff from holding several high-level positions.) Many of the under-secretaries-general that were asked to submit their resignations in January had been serving in those positions for close to or a little over five years. An exception is Jean-Marie Guéhenno, who has hold his post as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations since 2000. Ban recently extended contract by only a year.

For a complete list of the new appointments to and outgoing members of Ban's Senior Management group, click here.

New Vacancies

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority

  • Michael Williams (United Kingdom) has held this position, which Ban downgraded from under-secretary-general to assistant secretary-general, since May 15, 2007. Williams replaced Alvaro de Soto (Peru).
  • On August 6, it was announced that Williams would step down from the role, as he had taken a position as the Special Representative on Middle East and Special Projects for the U.K. (Click here for press release from U.K.) Reportedly he will stay in his UN position until sometime in September.
  • The Special Coordinator position is considered the UN's "top" Middle East envoy role. The person in this position also serves as Ban's envoy to the "quartet" of Middle East advisers (UN, U.S., European Union, and Russia). The responsibilities are said to include coordinating UN activities related to the Middle East peace process, providing political guidance to the UN system on Middle East issues, and ensuring that the UN "contribution is fully integrated and coordinated."
  • The Secretariat has not yet announced any candidates for Williams' replacement. Ban will need Security Council approval of his choice for this post.

Special Envoy to Iraq

  • Ashraf Jehangir Qazi of Pakistan has held this Baghdad-based post for three years, and his mandate expired on August 7.

Other vacant posts:

  • Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Afghanistan)
  • Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Operations and Rule of Law (Liberia)
  • Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo

For the official list of all current Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General, click here.

Vice Presidents of 62nd General Assembly

On July 24, the General Assembly elected 16 of the 21 Vice-Presidents for its 62nd Session. The Vice-Presidents make up the majority of the GA's General Committee, which is also comprised of the GA President and the elected chairs of the six Main Committees. The functions of the Vice-Presidents can be inferred from the role of the General Committee. According to the United Nations Handbook 2006/2007, "The General Committee considers the provisional agenda and the supplementary list, considers requests for the inclusion of additional items on the agenda, allocates items to committees and submits its report for the approval of the General Assembly. It assists the President in drawing up the agenda for plenary meetings, determining the priority of agenda items, coordinating the proceedings of the committees and in the general conduct of the work of the General Assembly that falls within the President's competence. The General Committee my also make recommendations to the GA concerning the closing date of the session. It may not decide any political question."

The elected Vice-Presidents for the 62nd Session are:

African States

  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Egypt
  • Gambia
  • Mauritius

Asian States

  • Cyprus
  • Iraq
  • Palau
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkmenistan

Latin American and Caribbean States

  • Bahamas
  • Honduras
  • Uruguay

Western European and Other States

  • Iceland
  • Turkey

Without being elected, the five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, U.S., U.K.) also serve as Vice-Presidents of the Assembly.

In the News

"Women's Advocate, Qatari Ambassador Chosen to Head UN Regional Bodies" - UN News Centre, July 30

"UN Loses Williams" - New York Sun, July 30

"Ban announces appointments of 3 top UN officials" - China View, July 28, 2007

"New UN Envoy for Haiti in Juggle of Top Posts" - Reuters Africa, July 27