4 April 2003

Philippe de Seynes, "Intellectual Giant", Shaper of United Nations Economic, Social Operations, Dies in Paris at Age 93

NEW YORK, 3 April (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

Philippe de Seynes, one of the United Nations' most distinguished senior officials, passed away yesterday in Paris at age 93.

Mr. de Seynes, a French national, headed the economic and social department of the United Nations Secretariat for 20 years, as Under-Secretary for Economic and Social Affairs from 1955 to 1968, and Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs from 1968 to 1975. Mr. de Seynes was an intellectual giant and pioneer in his field. He shaped the way the United Nations was to function in the economic and social sphere for several decades to come. Many of the current organization in the United Nations originated under him, such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the regional commissions. Under his stewardship, the United Nations initiated a series of development decades, the unified approach to development and the advancement of women programme.

Mr. de Seynes was a humanist and a true prototype of the international civil servant. His steadfast and deep commitment to the ideals of the United Nations, intellect, singular talent for public speaking and charisma won him many friends and admirers throughout the United Nations. He leaves a legacy of light and warmth among all who knew and worked with him.

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