On 9 February 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka of Japan to the position of United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, effective 1 April 2007.
Prior to joining Secretary-General Ban's senior management team, Mr. Akasaka held the position of Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from August 2003 until March 2007. At the OECD, he was responsible for development, sustainable development, the environment, and partnerships with other international organizations. He developed a reputation as the source of innovative reforms and initiatives that greatly improved coordination between the various OECD departments and thereby strengthened the efficiency of that organization.
Mr. Akasaka was Japan's Ambassador to the UN in 2000 and 2001. He served as a bureau member for the preparation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002. In 1997, he was appointed the Deputy Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Multilateral Cooperation Department, in which capacity he served as one of his country's senior negotiators in the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change in December of 1997, having previously held a number of senior positions in the Ministry, including as the Deputy Director of its Press Division.
From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Akasaka served as an official with the World Health Organization (WHO) and from 1988 to 1991 he was member of the Secretariat of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT-- the precursor of the World Trade Organisation).
Mr. Akasaka originally joined the Japanese Foreign Ministry in April 1971 immediately after graduating from Kyoto University, where he obtained a B.A. degree in Law. From 1972 to 1974, he was also a student at Trinity College, Cambridge in the UK, where he obtained a B.A. and M.A. in Economics.
He is the co-author of several books, including The GATT and the Uruguay Round Negotiations and The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and has also written many articles on trade, the environment and sustainable development.
Mr. Akasaka speaks fluent English and French. He was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1948.