UN development chief announces decision to step down

UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis

8 January 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that he accepts with regret the decision of the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to leave the post in March.

Due to personal and family reasons, UNDP Administrator Kemal Derviş said he will step down on 1 March.

In a statement, Mr. Ban said that he will start the process of selecting a successor, expressing his gratitude to Mr. Derviş for “so ably leading UNDP at a critical juncture” and his “great leadership.”

The Administrator “has led the UNDP programmes in support of the developing countries to expand substantially over the last four years and to make solid progress in the ‘delivering as one’ agenda concerning the UN’s development work as a whole at the country level.”

A former Turkish Finance Minister credited with leading his country out of a major economic crisis, Mr. Derviş was named to the post by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a four-year term in 2005.

He had previously served for 22 years at the World Bank, where he was Vice President for Middle East and North Africa and Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management.

UNDP is the largest of the independently funded UN agencies and, under its special General Assembly mandate, leads the UN’s work on eradicating extreme poverty and promoting good governance in the developing world.

Meanwhile, Japan will provide a $17 million grant to a UNDP-backed disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme in Sudan, it was announced today.

Japan’s contribution will go towards the $385 million needed to reintegrate nearly 200,000 ex-combatants into civilian life. Last October, Italy donated $4 million to the initiative.

Ameerah Haq, who serves as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative and UNDP Resident Representative, called on donors to follow the lead of Japan and Italy.

She also appealed to the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan to expedite the setting up of offices to ensure that the DDR programme “becomes effectively nationally-owned and led.”

The funding from Japan will be used by UNDP to support DDR Commissions of North Sudan and South Sudan to, among other activities, train staff and provide economic re-integration opportunities for ex-combatants, including many women and disabled former fighters.

The DDR programme is a key component of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the long-running north-south civil war between the Government and the former southern rebels.

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