Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Noeleen Heyzer has dedicated her professional life to the transformation of institutions and agendas – opening spaces for dialogue and change, to advance equity, social justice, and sustainable development for people and planet.
She was appointed at the end of August 2007, by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the 9th Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Dr. Heyzer is the first woman to hold this position since ESCAP was created in 1947. Under her leadership, ESCAP has focused on building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient Asia-Pacific, founded on shared prosperity, and social equity.
In June 2013, the Secretary-General also announced Dr. Heyzer’s concurrent appointment as his Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working with the Government and UN Country Team to support the continuing efforts of Timor-Leste towards peace-building, state-building, and inclusive and sustainable development.
Dr. Heyzer was previously the head of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), where she was able to build strong institutions with on-the-ground presence. She also achieved more than ten-fold resource growth for the organization over a decade. Her efforts were instrumental in the formulation and implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science from the University of Singapore, as well as a Doctorate in social sciences from Cambridge University. She has also received numerous awards for leadership, including the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the National University of Singapore.