United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 25 October 2021 the appointment of Noeleen Heyzer of Singapore as his new Special Envoy on Myanmar.
Ms. Heyzer succeeds Christine Schraner Burgener of Switzerland to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her dedicated service in support of the people of Myanmar.
Ms. Heyzer was the first woman to serve as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific from 2007-2014. Under her leadership, the Commission focused on regional cooperation for a more resilient Asia-Pacific, founded on shared prosperity, social equity and sustainable development. In 2008-2009, she worked closely with ASEAN, the Government of Myanmar and the United Nations in the recovery efforts, following Cyclone Nargis and led a dialogue with Myanmar's leaders on development and poverty reduction. From 2013-2015, she was also the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-building, state-building and sustainable development.
As the Executive Director of UNIFEM (1994–2007), Ms. Heyzer played a critical role in the Security Council’s formulation and implementation of the landmark Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. She undertook extensive missions to conflict-affected countries worldwide, engaging women and a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society, youth and faith-based organizations.
Ms. Heyzer is a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation, a member of the Governing Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and a distinguished fellow of the Singapore Management University and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
Ms. Heyzer holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science from the University of Singapore, as well as a Doctorate in social sciences from Cambridge University.