|Bertini Appointment As UN's Top
Management Official Welcomed
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's appointment of
Catherine Bertini, the former head of the United Nations World Food
Programme (WFP), as the UN's top management official, effective 1 January,
received general acclaim. The Secretary General made the announcement
personally at a brief press meeting.
"She brings a wealth of experience that is going to
be needed in this building," he said. He cited her 10 years of service at
WFP, where she instituted major reform programmes, as well as experience
at the state and federal levels of government in the U.S., and in the private
In her remarks to the press, Ms. Bertini, a U.S.
national, pledged her full efforts to help Annan with his second reform
agenda. "It will be an honour to work on all issues relative to the
administration of the UN to help ensure the Secretary-General's success
on that area," she said.
Ms. Bertini inherits a job with a number of challenges,
including a near-constant budget shortfall and the proposed renovation of the
UN Headquarters building in New York. Among other top priorities, the
Secretary-General said Ms. Bertini would focus on implementing ongoing reforms,
improve the UN's communication and information technology, intensify the
Organization's efforts to attain gender balance, strive for better coordination
between the UN's myriad funds and programmes, and continue the revamping of the
UN's budget and human resources management.
Those who followed her work as Head of the World Food
Programme in Rome felt that she will inject a much-needed human touch to the
management approach, particularly when dealing with reform proposals and budget
cuts. It is hoped that she will not be obsessed with accounting figures or old
boardroom cutthroat tactics, but will display the compassionate leadership she
demonstrated while in Rome.