The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, appointed by the UN Secretary-General, is the head of UN DESA. He advises the Secretary-General on the three pillars of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental, and nurtures key partnerships with governments, UN agencies and civil society organizations. The USG is assisted by the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs.
- managing the Department and its divisions;
- advising the Secretary-General on the three pillars of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental – including the SDGs;
- establishing key partnerships with governments, UN agencies and civil society organizations;
- convening the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs, which is the coordination vehicle within the UN development system;
- overseeing the Development Account of the United Nations regular budget, which funds programmes implemented by ten different entities in the UN Secretariat.
USG Mr. Liu Zhenmin assumed office on 26 July 2017. He brings to the position more than 30 years of experience in the diplomatic service, with a strong focus on the promotion of bilateral, regional and global issues.
ASG Mr. Elliott Harris assumed office as ASG for Economic Development and Chief Economist on 2 April 2018. He brings over 25 years of international experience in the fields of international economics and development policy analysis, coupled with knowledge of the UN system, multilateral and inter–agency coordination processes.
ASG Ms. Maria-Francesca Spatolisano assumed office as ASG for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs on 1 March 2019. Ms. Spatolisano has 33 years of experience in public service including extensive senior leadership in multilateral affairs. She has served as the European Union Ambassador to the OECD and UNESCO, Monaco and Andorra.