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Gender Balance Improves in Latest Major Staff Appointments at UN


New high-level appointments made by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reflect more influence by Denmark in the world body, including the recent election of a Dane, Mogens Lykketoft, as the next president of the General Assembly, starting in September for one year.

Two other Danes are taking prestigious posts: Michael Moller will lead the UN office at Geneva and Lise Kingo will run the UN Global Compact in New York. Another Dane, Michael Lollesgaard, is the new force commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. (Unlike Moller, Kingo and Lollesgaard, Lykketoft’s salary is determined and paid for by Denmark.)

Kelly T. Clements
Kelly T. Clements of the United States, the new deputy of the UN agency for refugees.

Of the 10 appointments made by Ban in the last two months, four went to women, representing a better gender balance than all previous appointments made this year so far, as reported by PassBlue, which showed a dismal male-to-female ratio of 9 to 1 in an earlier round of high-level postings. Geographically, most of the new candidates come from Europe or the US; only one person is from Asia and three are from Africa.

Two of the four women named to high-profile jobs will deputize two large UN agencies: the high commissioner for refugees and Unicef.

An American, Kelly T. Clements, is the new deputy of the refugee agency in Geneva, which operates with an annual budget of $7 billion and is facing enormous pressure to manage the huge influx of refugees flowing from poor or conflict-ridden nations to more stable regions, primarily Europe. The US has contributed by a wide stretch — $993 million this year — the most money to the agency so far, followed by Japan with $167 million; Kuwait, $122 million; and the European Union, $120 million.

By contrast, the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council, besides the US, have donated much less this year: Britain, $54 million; France, $22 million; Russia, $2 million; and no donations listed from China.

At Unicef, a Senegalese, Fatoumata Ndiaye, is now second in command. The agency operated on a budget of about $5 billion in 2014.

Here is a summary of the 10 appointments:

Michael Moller of Denmark is now director-general of the UN office at Geneva, having served as the acting head since November 2013. Previously, he was executive director of the Kofi Annan Foundation from 2008 to 2011. He began his career with the UN in 1979, working with the high commissioner for refugees; from 1997 to 2001, he headed the office of the under secretary-general for political affairs at the UN headquarters in New York. Born in 1952, Moller finished a master’s course in international relations at Johns Hopkins University and has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Sussex in England.

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• The new executive director of the UN Global Compact is Lise Kingo of Denmark, succeeding Georg Kell of Germany, who retired after more than 25 years with the UN. Kell led Global Compact, a voluntary membership organization that promotes corporate sustainability, since it began in 2000. It has more than 12,000 participants from 160 countries.

Lise Kingo
Lise Kingo of Denmark will run Global Compact.

Kingo, who is in her 50s and takes over on Sept. 1, was recently an executive at Novo Nordisk, a global health care company based in Denmark, where she worked from 2002 to 2014 and her compensation in 2013 was reported to be the equivalent of $1.4 million. Her annual salary at Global Compact, a D-2 level position, starts at about $142,000. Kingo is also the chairwoman of the Danish Council for Corporate Social Responsibility. She holds a B.A. degree in religions and ancient Greek culture from the University of Aarhus in Denmark; a bachelor of commerce degree in market economics from the Copenhagen Business School and a master of science degree in responsibility and business practice from the University of Bath in England.

Simona-Mirela Miculescu of Romania is the new representative and director of the UN Office in Belgrade (Unob), replacing Peter Due of Denmark, who has moved to UN headquarters. Miculescu will oversee the office’s work supporting the UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik) and other matters. Miculescu was most recently the ambassador of Romania. Born in 1959, she has a B.A. degree in French and English literature and a Ph.D. in literature from the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania.

Kelly T. Clements, 49, has been named deputy high commissioner of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), succeeding another American, T. Alexander Aleinikoff. Her post as an assistant secretary-general pays an annual baseline salary of $172,000. Clements was previously a US deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration. She has a master’s degree in urban affairs and public policy and a bachelor’s degree in international studies, both from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Fatoumata Ndiaye is the new deputy executive director of the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), an assistant secretary-general post, with an annual baseline salary of $172,000. She was most recently the director of the agency’s Office of Internal Audit and Investigations. Ndiaye has also worked in the private sector, including as a manager for Coopers and Lybrand (now PWC) in Senegal. She has an M.B.A. from l’École Supérieure de Gestion des Entreprises (Graduate School of Business and Management) in Senegal and a postgraduate degree in auditing from Paris Dauphine University in France.

Eugene Owusu of Ghana, deputy of the UN mission in South Sudan.

Eugene Owusu of Ghana is now deputy special envoy for the UN mission in South Sudan (Unmiss), where he also leads the UN Development Program. He succeeds Toby Lanzer of Britain, who will become the regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel region. Lanzer was expelled from South Sudan by the government with no explanation, though he had been slated to leave anyway. (The mission’s bases are housing more than 150,000 people displaced by the war in its country.) Owusu has been the UN chief representative for the UN Development Program in Ethiopia since 2010. He has a doctorate in agricultural economics from Pennsylvania State University.

Peter de Clercq of the Netherlands has been named the deputy special envoy for the UN mission in Somalia (Unsom), where he will also be the top representative for the UN Development Program. De Clercq replaces Philippe Lazzarini of Switzerland, who has joined the UN office of the Special Coordinator for Lebanon (Unscol). De Clercq’s most recent assignment was deputy special envoy for the UN mission in Haiti (Minustah), which is winding down its presence in the country. Born in 1959, he has a master’s degree in development sociology from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands and is a graduate of the Netherlands Institute for International Affairs, or Clingendael, in The Hague.

Major General Didier L’Hôte of France has been promoted to force commander of the UN mission in Ivory Coast (Unoci), where he was deputy force commander. He replaces Major General Hafiz Masroor Ahmed of Pakistan. L’Hôte was deputy commander of the land task force in France from 2012 to 2014 and earlier a commander in Afghanistan. Born in 1960, he has a master’s degree in management and defense studies, and in international relations from the Defense Academy of the United Kingdom and the French War College, respectively.

• The new executive director of the UN Institute for Training and Research (Unitar), based in Geneva, is Nikhil Seth of India. He succeeds Sally Fegan-Wyles of Ireland. Seth was most recently the director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Desa). Seth has a master’s degree in economics from Delhi University.

Tegegnework Gettu of Ethiopia is the coordinator for multilingualism in the Secretariat, besides being an under secretary-general for General Assembly and Conference Management. Previously, the multilingualism coordinator role was held by Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, the head of public information until he left the UN in 2014 to return to a government post in Austria. (Cristina Gallach of Spain succeeded Launsky-Tieffenthal in February 2015.)

Udo Janz, the director of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in New York, a post he held since 2010, is retiring and moving to Vienna. A German, he joined the refugee agency in 1979, during the Indo-Chinese refugee crisis in Southeast Asia. He worked for the agency in Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Cambodia, among other stations.


Dulcie Leimbach is a co-founder, with Barbara Crossette, of PassBlue. For PassBlue and other publications, Leimbach has reported from New York and overseas from West Africa (Burkina Faso and Mali) and from Europe (Scotland, Sicily, Vienna, Budapest, Kyiv, Armenia, Iceland and The Hague). She has provided commentary on the UN for BBC World Radio, ARD German TV and Radio, NHK’s English channel, Background Briefing with Ian Masters/KPFK Radio in Los Angeles and the Foreign Press Association.

Previously, she was an editor for the Coalition for the UN Convention Against Corruption; from 2008 to 2011, she was the publications director of the United Nations Association of the USA. Before UNA, Leimbach was an editor at The New York Times for more than 20 years, editing and writing for most sections of the paper, including the Magazine, Book Review and Op-Ed. She began her reporting career in small-town papers in San Diego, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., graduating to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and then working at The Times. Leimbach has been a fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies as well as at Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; taught news reporting at Hofstra University; and guest-lectured at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the CUNY Journalism School. She graduated from the University of Colorado and has an M.F.A. in writing from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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