UN logo Office of the Iraq Programme

FranÁais    arabic


Home Page

box About the

Information for Companies and Delegations

UN News Centre

Fact Sheet
In Brief
Programme Chronology
Weekly Update
Phases (I-XIII)
Security Council Resolutions
Security Council Reports
Statements of the Executive Director
Oil Exports
By Week
  By Phase
Humanitarian imports



Biographical Note

Benon V. Sevan, a national of Cyprus, was appointed by the Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as the Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, effective 15 October 1997. On 13 October 1997, Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced his decision to establish the Office of the Iraq Programme and consolidate the management of United Nations activities under Security Council resolutions 986 (1995) and 661 (1990).

As Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Mr. Sevan is responsible for the overall management and supervision of the implementation of the humanitarian programme in Iraq (the Oil-for-Food Programme), established by Security Council resolution 986 (1995). The annual funding level of the programme is currently about $10 billion.

Prior to his appointment as Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Mr. Sevan served as Assistant Secretary-General for Conference and Support Services and the United Nations Security Coordinator, and continued to carry out the latter function until end of July 2002. Since 1992, Mr. Sevan has also been serving as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for issues related to missing persons in the Middle East.

From August 1992 to March 1994, Mr. Sevan served as Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Head of the Department of Political Affairs, with particular responsibility for General Assembly and Security Council Affairs. In March 1994, Mr. Sevan was appointed as Assistant Secretary-General in the Department of Administration and Management, in order to coordinate the preparation of the reports of the Secretary-General on the restructuring of the United Nations requested by the General Assembly.

In April 1988, Mr. Sevan was appointed Director and Senior Political Adviser to the Representative of the Secretary-General on the Settlement of the Situation relating to Afghanistan, and was posted in Afghanistan and Pakistan, for monitoring the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

In May 1989, he was appointed, with the rank of an Assistant Secretary-General, as the Secretary-Generalís Personal Representative in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In January 1990, he was also asked to serve, concurrently, as the Secretary-Generalís Representative on the implementation of the Geneva Accords on Afghanistan. In addition to those responsibilities, in January 1991, Mr. Sevan assumed responsibility for the overall direction and administration of the Office for the Coordination of United Nations Humanitarian and Economic Assistance Programmes in Afghanistan (UNOCA).

Mr. Sevan joined the United Nations Secretariat in February 1965 and worked in the Department of Public Information until June 1966, later working in the Secretariat of the Special Committee on Decolonization.

From November 1968 to August 1969, he served as a United Nations Observer with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Act of Free Choice in West Irian (now Irian Jaya, Indonesia). From July 1970 through 1972, he was Assistant Resident Representative with the Fund of the United Nations for the Development of West Irian (FUNDWI).

Mr. Sevan joined the Secretariat of the Economic and Social Council in June 1973 and served as the Secretary of the Council from 1982 to March 1988. He served as Secretary of numerous intergovernmental and expert bodies of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, as well as of United Nations special conferences. He has also carried out special political assignments on behalf of the Secretary-General and was the Senior Secretariat Official of the mission dispatched by the Secretary-General, in February 1985, to inquire into the situation of prisoners of war in the conflict between Iran and Iraq.

Mr. Sevan is a graduate of the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, with concentration in Philosophy, from Columbia College, Columbia University, New York. He also has a graduate degree from the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University.

Born in Nicosia, Cyprus, on 18 December 1937, Mr. Sevan is married and has a daughter.