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So who will head UNDP? What post are the Russians looking to take?

The rumor mill is hard at work in New York as the new Secretary General Administration starts to bed  in.

It seems that there is to be a new Under Secretary General (USG) for Counter Intelligence and according to my sources it will go to a Russian candidate - yet to be named.

There had been some speculation that the Chinese would give up the USG position in UN DESA for a USG position in political affairs and there was already some movement on this as far as countries considering putting forward their candidates. I would have loved to see  as head of UN DESA Trevor Manuel who served in the government of South Africa as Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2009, during the presidencies of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, and subsequently as Minister in the Presidency for the National Planning Commission from 2009 to 2014 under President Jacob Zuma.

Now it seems that a new Chinese head of UN DESA will be appointed and come in probably in July.
The new Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed the former Nigerian Environment Minister and former ASG who helped secure the SDGs in her position as Special Advisor of the Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning(a position now held by David Nabarro) will take office, I understand in February.

It is unclear to me who will take the lead on the implementation of the SDGs within the UN. Considering the work that Amina did on the SDGs and the need for her or the new Secretary General to take a leadership role on the SDGs does this mean the new head of UN DESA will take a backseat? There are a number of Divisions in UNDESA that deal with the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs who will give guidance here?

This brings me on to UNDP. There will be a new Administrator of UNDP in July and there are two very high level candidates for that post that I will come to in a moment.

Whoever is to lead UNDP it clearly needs a new vision for what it should be doing.  It has been unclear for most the last ten years what UNDP stands for and what makes it unique. One thought that i would like the new head to consider is perhaps it should be taking up the banner from the SDGs of 'leave no one behind.'

So its my understanding that two of the candidates for head of UNDP are:

David Miliband who was a British Labour Party politician, who was the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2007 to 2010.  Prior to that he was Environment Secretary. His tenure in this post saw climate change consolidated as a priority for policymakers. In 2010 he stood to lead the Labour Party but lost to his brother Ed.  On 15 April 2013, Miliband resigned from Parliament in order to take up the posts of President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.

Ségolène Royal is a French politician and prominent member of the Socialist Party. She is Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy in the second cabinet of Prime Minister Manuel Valls.  In January 2015 she was third in line in governmental rank, after the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.She was President of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council from
2004 to 2014. She was the Socialist candidate in the 2007 presidential election, becoming the first woman in France to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major party. She lost to Nicolas Sarkozy.

Both are excellent candidates for head of UNDP and would hopefully rebuild the institution and have it play the critical role it should in a world that is increasingly becoming more insecure.


  1. Bold and astute thinkers and unequivocal speakers. lets hope the new UN SG selects one of them or an even bolder choice.


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