Pakistani to head UN economic, social body for Asia, Pacific

United Nations, Dec 11: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday announced the appointment of Shamshad Akhtar of Pakistan as the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

She will replace Noeleen Heyzer of Singapore, said Farhan Haq, acting UN deputy spokesman, at a daily news briefing.

Akhtar is currently Ban’s senior adviser on economic development and finance and UN assistant secretary general in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

“Heyzer will continue to serve a special adviser of the secretary general for Timor-Leste in further strengthening the ongoing partnership between the government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations to support the continuing efforts of Timor-Leste towards peacebuilding, state-building and inclusive and sustainable development,” Haq said.

Akhtar, who since 2012 has served as the secretary-general’s senior adviser on economic development and finance and assistant secretary-general, brings to the position over 30 years of broad experience as a seasoned economist with an impressive track record of policymaking and implementation in the economic, development and finance fields both at the country and regional level, he said.

Akhtar also serves as the United Nations Sherpa for the G20.

She previously served as governor of the Central Bank of Pakistan from 2006 to 2009. In the multinational arena, Akhtar served at the World Bank as the vice president for the Middle East and North Africa between 2009 and 2011 and the Asian Development Bank as special senior adviser to the World Bank president in 2009.

She was born in 1954.