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Noeleen Heyzer, a social scientist, was an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the highest ranking Singaporean in the UN system during her term.
She was the first woman to serve as the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific since its founding in 1947. Under her leadership (Aug 2007-Jan 2014), the commission focused on regional co-operation for a more resilient Asia-Pacific, founded on shared prosperity, social equity, and sustainable development. Among the many significant achievements of the region under her tenure have been groundbreaking intergovernmental agreements on a regional intermodal transport and logistical system, especially for landlocked developing countries; and initiatives such as Regional Connectivity including assistance in the formulation of ASEAN’s Connectivity Master Plan, exploration of an Asia-Pacific Energy Highway, an ICT super-highway, and the negotiation supporting the new Silk Route of economic development in Central Asia. She was at the forefront of many innovations including for regional disaster preparedness, inclusive green growth and social protection, sustainable agriculture and urbanization. She was also the United Nations Secretary General ’s Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-building, state-building, and sustainable development in fragile states.
As the previous Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women, she was widely recognized for the formulation and implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.
She has served on numerous boards and advisory committees of international organizations, including the UNDP Human Development Report; the Asian Development Bank’s Eminent Persons Group; the High-level Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding chaired by Nobel Laureate Prof. Amartya Sen. She has received numerous international awards for leadership.
She holds a BA (Upper Hons) and a MSc from Singapore University, a PhD from Cambridge University, and has received numerous international awards for leadership.
Last updated on 13/10/2017