18 January 2006

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Ad Melkert of Netherlands as Associate Administrator of United Nations Development Programme

NEW YORK, 17 January (UN Headquarters) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Ad Melkert to serve as Under-Secretary-General and the Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Mr. Melkert, a Dutch national, will begin on 1 March 2006.

Since November 2002, Mr. Melkert has represented the Dutch constituency as an Executive Director of the World Bank, where he has been a strong advocate for increased donor coordination and harmonization, and the need for more equitable development policies, good governance and democratic institutions.

Mr. Melkert has a longstanding involvement in issues of international and development cooperation.  He was active in the international and European youth movements and worked for Novib, a Dutch non-governmental organization active in development issues.  He served as Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, and in Parliament was a member of the Standing Committees for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.  As Minister, responsible for his country's Department of Equal Opportunities, he led the Dutch delegations to the United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) and the annual meetings of the International Labour Organizations.

Previously, Mr. Melkert had a prominent political career in the Dutch Labour Party, where he was one of the youngest members of the Lower House of Parliament.  He became his party's parliamentary leader in 1998.  In 2001, he was elected party leader, succeeding then-Prime Minister Wim Kok.

As Associate Administrator, Melkert will oversee the UNDP's programme operations, as well as take on other leadership responsibilities in the organization, said UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis in announcing the appointment.  The UNDP focuses on helping developing countries build capacity in the areas of democratic governance, conflict prevention and recovery, poverty reduction, energy and environment, and HIV/AIDS.  In all of its work, the UNDP seeks to promote human rights and the empowerment of women.

Mr. Melkert, who was born on 12 February 1956, holds a master's degree in political sciences from the University of Amsterdam.  He is married to Chilean painter Mónica León Borquez and has two daughters.  In addition to Dutch, he speaks English, German, French, and Spanish.

* *** *