Former Turkish Economics Minister takes helm at UN Development Programme

15 August 2005

Kemal Dervis, a former Turkish Minister of Economic Affairs, Member of the European Convention and World Bank executive, took office today as the new Administrator of the United National Development Programme (UNDP), the UN’s global development network and its largest agency.

Kemal Dervis, a former Turkish Minister of Economic Affairs, Member of the European Convention and World Bank executive, took office today as the new Administrator of the United National Development Programme (UNDP), the UN’s global development network and its largest agency.

A world-renowned economist, Mr. Dervis, 56, succeeds Mark Malloch Brown, who was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Chief of Staff in January.

Mr. Dervis, the first person from a country that receives development assistance to hold the top post at UNDP, will also succeed Mr. Malloch Brown as Chair of the UN Development Group, which coordinates the international assistance and reconstruction work of UN agencies.

Mr. Dervis starts his term as the UN gears up for the 2005 World Summit, scheduled for 14 to 16 September. A central feature of the Summit will be a review of progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include cutting poverty and hunger by half, reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and ensuring that children are attend primary school, by 2015.

Prior to joining UNDP, Mr. Dervis was a member of the Turkish Parliament. In 2001 and 2002, as Turkish Minister for Economic Affairs and Treasury, his reforms ended his country’s deep financial crisis.

His policies sparked sustained growth and helped Turkey become eligible for European Union membership. During his 22-year career at the World Bank, Mr. Dervis served as Director of the Central Europe Department, where he coordinated the support of the Bank and donor community to the peace and reconstruction process in Bosnia.

In his role as Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management there, he helped develop the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers initiative, aimed at expanding reforms in the poorest countries with the inclusion of civil society in the policy formulation process.

In addition to his native Turkish, Mr. Dervis speaks fluent English, French, and German. He holds a doctorate in economics from Princeton University and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the London School of Economics.

Nominated by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in April, Mr. Dervis was confirmed by the General Assembly in May. When announcing the nomination, the Secretary-General said, “[He] combines a proven practical and intellectual track record in the fields of development and international finance with a passionate commitment to addressing the scourge of poverty and established skills as a manager.”

 

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