15 May 2005
For the first time, the head of the U.N. Development Program comes from a developing recipient country.
The post was solely reserved for an American until Mark Malloch-Brown of the United Kingdom took it over
on behalf of Europe.
As predicted by the last issue of unforum, Kemal Dervis of Turkey was nominated by the Secretary
General to succeed newly appointed Chef de Cabinet Malloch-Brown who obviously had a hand in selecting
his former World Bank colleague.
This was the first open process where over 100 distinguished high-level candidates competed for one of the
most influential posts in the U.N. system.
Mr. Dervis was Turkey's Finance Minister from March 2001 to August 2002, when he was credited with
leading his country out of a major economic crisis. He had previously served for 22 years at the World
Bank, where he was Vice President for Middle East and North Africa and Vice President for Poverty
Reduction and Economic Management, according to UNDP. In the anti-poverty post he was pivotal in
developing the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) initiative, which calls on governments to
involve civil society organizations (CSOs) and development partners in the process of devising
national proposals on promoting economic growth.
According to Secretary General Kofi Annan, Mr. Dervis' combination of proven practical and
intellectual track records in development and international finance "with a passionate commitment to
addressing the scourge of poverty" and his managerial skills would enable him to consolidate UNDP's
critical role in addressing global priorities -- from the 2000 Millennium Development Goals, which
seek to reduce a host of socio-economic ills, to crisis prevention and recovery, Mr. Annan said.
He added that Mr. Dervis could build on the successful six-year reform effort implemented by current
Administrator Mark Malloch Brown, who, in that capacity, also chairs the UN Development Group (UNDG),
but was recently appointed Mr. Annan's Chief of Staff.
UNDP is the largest of the independently funded UN agencies and, under its special General Assembly
mandate, leads the UN's work on eradicating extreme poverty and promoting good governance in the
developing world. Its staff is active in 166 countries.
Mr. Dervis is the author of a book published last month called "For Better Globalization," speaks
fluent English, French and German, besides Turkish, and holds a doctorate in economics from
Princeton University and Master's and Bachelor's degrees from the London School of Economics (LSE).