Mr. Melkert, who will begin work on 1 March 2006, has represented the Dutch constituency as an Executive Director of the World Bank.
Previously, Mr. Melkert was active in the international and European youth movements and worked for Novib, a Dutch non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on 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 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) and the annual meetings of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO).
Before that, 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, Mr. Melkert will oversee the UNDP’s programme operations, as well as take on other leadership responsibilities in the organization.
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.
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.