The United Nations Secretary-General this week released his choices for the three regional positions that had recently become vacant; and he has retained another executive secretary in another region. Of worthy to take note is that of the four regional executive secretaries, three are women
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission on Africa
For the position of Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission on Africa (ECA), the Secretary-General has selected Vera Songwe of Cameroon, who since 2015 was the Regional Director (Africa) covering West and Central Africa for the International Finance Corporation. She is also Non-resident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institute: Global Development and Africa Growth Initiative (since 2011).
Ms. Songwe brings to the position a longstanding track record of policy advice, and results-oriented implementation in the region, coupled with a strong strategic vision for the region. She was previously Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania at the World Bank (2012-2015), Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe and Central Asia and South Asia Regions (2008-2011), and Lead Country Sector Coordinator (2005-2008).
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe
For the position of Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Secretary-General has selected Olga Algayerova of Slovakia, who since 2012, was Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the International Organisations in Vienna, Austria.
Ms. Algayerova brings to the position a combination of leadership and diplomatic skills, with deep knowledge of the region with its challenges and opportunities, and a strong focus on building and nurturing partnerships among key stakeholders with the United Nations. She was previously, President, Slovak Millennium Development Goals (2010-2012), State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2010), and Corporate Export Manager, Zentiva International, a.s. (2004-2006).
Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
For the position of Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Secretary-General has selected Mohamed Ali Alhakim of Iraq, who since 2013 was the Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Iraq to the United Nations.
Mr. Alhakim brings to the position, deep knowledge of the governmental landscape in the region, coupled with strong networks across the region. He was previously, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Iraq to the United Nations, Geneva (2010-2013), Ambassador and Director of Arab, European, International Organisations and Policy Planning, Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Baghdad, Iraq (2006-2010), Iraq Minister of Communications (2004-2005), Member of Iraq National Assembly and Foreign Relations Sub-Committee (2005-2006), and Senior Social and Economic Adviser to the Vice President of Iraq (2004-2010).
The Secretary-General has asked Shamhad Akhtar of Pakistan to continue in her role as Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude for her continued commitment and dedication to the Commission and the Asia Pacific region.
The Secretary-General is grateful to the outgoing senior leaders who have served with distinction and true commitment to the ideals of the United Nations.