DESA News Vol. 11, No. 6 June 2007

Comings and goings


Mr. José OcampoMr. José Antonio Ocampo will leave his post as Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs on 30 June. Mr. Ocampo joined the United Nations as Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in January 1998, becoming head of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York in September 2003. Mr. Ocampo reflects on his time with the UN in this issue’s feature article on “ Deepening the foundations of economic and social affairs .”

Mr. Patricio CiviliMr. Patrizio Civili Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, retires on 30 June following a distinguished career spanning some thirty-eight years in the United Nations, devoted largely to shaping institutional policies and forging consensus at the inter-agency and inter-governmental levels. Building consensus, promoting dialogue and engagement towards positive change is, Mr. Civili says, “my thing.” It takes “patience and a certain dose of sense of humour, but it works.” He hails the recent strengthening of the Economic and Social Council through the Annual Ministerial Review and Development Cooperation Forum, and sees renewed engagement among all stakeholders – donors large and small, least developed countries and middle income countries to make these new mechanisms succeed.

Mr. Civili joined the United Nations in 1969 at the age of twenty-five, with a laurea degree in comparative constitutional law from the University of Rome, and a graduate degree in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. His first assignment, as a P-1, was in the Office for Inter-Agency Affairs and Coordination, part of Secretary-General U Thant’s Executive Office. In 1978, he moved to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, as Secretary of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee.

He was responsible, from 1979 to 1985, for policy coordination and institutional affairs in the newly-created Office of the Director-General for Development and International Economic Cooperation. From 1985 to 1986, he was Chief of Office in Economic and Social Affairs. Between 1986 and 1992, he directed the Programme Support and Management Services of UNCTAD, covering technical cooperation, personnel and financial management and conference affairs. From 1992 to 1998, he served as Director in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General first with Mr. Boutros-Ghali and then with Mr. Annan, overseeing economic and social affairs and as Secretary of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), which later became the Chief Executives’ Board (CEB). He was appointed Assistant Secretary-General in DESA by Mr. Annan in February 1998.

To many, both in the UN Secretariat and in the Specialized Agencies, Mr. Civili has been the face of the CEB Secretariat and the pivotal link between CEB and the Economic and Social Council. He supported the Secretary-General in the transformation of ACC and its extensive machinery into the more agile, inclusive and lighter CEB and in the establishment of a permanent secretariat for the body to ensure continuity and follow-up to initiatives. He sought always to use his long institutional memory “to foster reform and change, not to justify the status quo.” He takes satisfaction in what he sees as a renewed sense of commitment to and ownership of CEB on the part of UN system executive heads. He was also a tireless promoter of the UN Staff College, which he terms “the custodian of the principles of multilateralism that bind the UN system and of the basic values of the international civil service.”

Looking back on his long and fulfilling career, what matters most to him are the many relationships he has built along the way, the friendships. The United Nations, he concludes with Roman passion and gratitude, has given me “far more than I would have dreamt of as a young man.”


The following staff members were promoted in May:

Ms. Rosanne Greco, Programme Assistant, Division for Public Administration and Development Management

Mr. Kamal Hossain, Information Systems Assistant, Statistics Division

Ms. Madeleine Losch, Staff Assistant, Division for Public Administration and Development Management

Ms. Yongyi Min, Statistician, Statistics Division

Ms. Gay Rosenblum-Kumar, Senior Governance and Public Administration Officer, Division for Public Administration and Development Management

Ms. Wenyan Yang, Senior Social Affairs Officer, Division for Social Policy and Development