Ms Lakshmi Puri appointed UN-OHRLLS director
16 December 2009
Lakshmi Murdeshwar Puri was appointed Director of the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), effective December 1, 2009.
Mrs. Puri holds the rank of Permanent Secretary in the Indian Foreign Service. She brings with her 35 years of extensive experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, development policy-making, international affairs, peace and security, human rights and humanitarian affairs. With 28 years of service in the Indian Foreign Service and seven years at UNCTAD, she has made contributions in the areas of policy research and analysis, technical cooperation, inter-governmental policy dialogue, consensus building and negotiations.
Before joining UN-OHRLLS, Mrs. Puri served as Director of UNCTAD’s Division for Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities (DITC), where she steered the work of the organization’s largest department on trade and development policy formulation. She also served as Acting Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD between 2007 and 2009, providing strategic management and oversight of the 500-strong organisation. She guided the substantive, administrative and logistical aspects of the UNCTAD XII Conference of 2008 in Accra, Ghana.
She has first-hand knowledge of national development policy formulation and its international dimensions, having served for several years as Joint Secretary in India´s Ministry of External Affairs, where she was in charge of the Economic and Multilateral Economic Relations divisions. She also managed the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation, one of the largest technical cooperation programmes among developing countries executing projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America. She has served on the boards of institutions such as India EXIM Bank, Export Credit and Guarantee Corporation, India Brand Equity Fund, and Committee for Overseas Indian Investment.
Mrs. Puri was Ambassador of India to Hungary and concurrently accredited to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1999-2002. In that capacity, she worked closely with the UN peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has first-hand experience in peace-making, having participated directly in conflict mediation and resolution, including at critical phases in India-Sri Lanka relations, and India-Pakistan relations. She also served in Japan, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.
During her diplomatic postings in Geneva, including as Deputy Permanent Representative of India, she developed expertise in human rights and humanitarian affairs, playing an active role in the Commission on Human Rights and its subsidiary bodies. She participated in negotiations on several human rights conventions, including those against torture; on the rights of the child; and the right to development.
Mrs. Puri has contributed to theoretical and policy-related research in think tanks, academic and development institutions in the fields of trade, investment, labour, migration, environment, energy, intellectual property, health, education and development.
Her recent contributions to development policy thinking include initiatives such as "Towards a New Trade 'Marshall Plan' for Least Developed Countries: How to Deliver on the Doha Development Promise and Help Realize the UN Millennium Development Goals?"; “Globalization’s Last Frontier: Labour Integration”; “Trade and Development Perspectives of the Global Energy Economy”; “Addressing the Global Food Crisis – Trade and Development Dimensions”; “Engendering Trade”; "Trade in Services, Gender, and Development – A Tale of Two Modes"; and "Multilateralism and Regionalism: The New Interface.”
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