Issue 105 - August 19 - Ban Appoints New Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support

New York, August 19, 2009 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Judy Cheng-Hopkins from Malaysia as the new Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, according to an announcement on August 17.

The post has been vacant for the approximately four months since Jane Holl Lute took a position in the U.S. State Department (she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 3, 2009).

The Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding leads the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), which originated in 2006 to assist the newly-created Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). The PBC's main purpose is to support countries in the transition from post-conflict situations to sustainable peace. Cheng-Hopkins will lead efforts to convene various development, security, political, humanitarian and human rights actors in support of the PBC. Moreover, her office, per the PBSO "Functional Organigramme" of 2008, is responsible for the following:

  • Oversee the management and administration of the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF);
  • Direct research, analysis and knowledge management for peacebuilding;
  • Undertake communications and outreach activities to all peacebuilding stakeholders worldwide; and
  • Provide overall management of the PBSO.

When the PBSO was formed, it was led by Carolyn McAskie of Canada. Jane Holl Lute of the United States succeeded her in an interim capacity in August 2008 (See UNelections Monitor #77). In January 2009, Holl Lute was nominated by U.S. President Obama as Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, although she reportedly did not resign until the Senate confirmed her for the post.

According to yesterday's announcement, Cheng-Hopkins "brings the necessary blend of managerial acumen and energetic leadership required," and she was chosen because she is "particularly well positioned to move the Secretary-General's peacebuilding agenda forward."

She has served with the UN for over 30 years within various organizations, including the World Food Programme, UN Development Programme. Her most recent position was as the Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees (for more details, see Biographical Note).

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