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UN appoints independent advisors to support Sustainable Development Goals

Latin American expert, Juan Somavía (Chile) was appointed to co-chair, together with Klaus Töpfer (Germany), the Team of Independent Advisors to support the second phase of the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN development system in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.



New York, 12 February 2016 – The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Bureau announced the establishment of an Independent Team of Advisors to support the second phase of the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN development system in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Independent Team has selected as its Co-Chairs Mr. Juan Somavia of Chile and Mr. Klaus Töpfer of Germany.The Independent Team of Advisors will support Member States through the ECOSOC Bureau during the Dialogue by providing recommendations based on strategic analysis regarding the changing role of the UN development system in light of the 2030 Agenda. In particular, the proposals of the Independent Team of Advisors will promote coherent interlinkages between functions, funding, governance, organizational arrangements, capacity and impact, and partnership approaches of the UN development system.

The Independent Team of Advisors will engage in a consultative process to ensure inclusion of the considerations and perspectives of all stakeholders. This will include discussions with Member States, United Nations entities, bureaus of governing bodies, Chairs of UN coordination mechanisms as well as civil society, the private sector, and other non-governmental stakeholders. Members will also engage with national officials and seek regional and sub-regional perspectives.

The Independent Team will contribute ideas, proposals and options to the formal and informal discussions of the ECOSOC Dialogue and related events with Member States and other stakeholders. The work of the Independent Team of Advisors will culminate in June of this year with the conclusion of the ECOSOC Dialogue, setting the stage for the General Assembly deliberations during the 2016 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of United Nations Operational Activities for Development.


Independent Team of Advisors to the ECOSOC Dialogue Process


Juan Somavia (Chile)
Mr. Juan Somavia is the former Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Interregional Policy Cooperation. He was also Director-General of ILO and Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations in New York. He has held key positions in the United Nations system including: Chair of the Preparatory Committee of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen; President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. As Permanent Representative, he represented Chile on the United Nations Security Council and was its President in April 1996 and October 1997. Ambassador Somavia is at present J.

Klaus Töpfer (Germany)
Mr. Klaus Töpfer is the Former Federal Minister for the Environment. He also served as the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (1998-2006). He has received numerous awards and honors, including in 2008 the German Sustainability Award for his lifetime achievement in the field of sustainability.  In 2012 he was inducted in the “Kyoto Earth Hall of Fame”.

Special Advisor

Sarah Cliffe
Ms. Sarah Cliffe is the Director at the Center on International Cooperation, New York University, and has been appointed as Special Advisor on the ECOSOC Dialogue. Ms. Cliffe will provide strategic analysis of the issues under consideration.


Armida S. Alisjahbana (Indonesia)
Ms. Armida Alisjahbana is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Padjadjaran University. She was formerly the Minister of National Development Planning and Head of the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) in Indonesia. She has been involved in various research projects and has served as a consultant to the UNU Institute for Advanced Study in Tokyo, the World Bank, ADB, AusAID, the European Commission, and ILO.

Chen Dongxiao (China)
Mr. Chen Dongxiao is President of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies and is the Vice Chair of the China National Association of International Relations (CNAIR). He is also a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum’s Expert and Eminent Persons group and is a senior advisor within the International Business Leaders Advisory Council (IBLAC).

Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilhe (Lebanon)
Ms. Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilhe currently lectures on international organizations at the Sorbonne Law School (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne). With 20 years of experience as a diplomat in multilateral diplomacy, she has represented Saint Lucia during two mandates at the Executive Board of UNESCO, and at the International Organization of Francophonie. She has chaired several inter-governmental committees including the World Heritage Committee. She also was the chair for UNESCO’s Independent External Evaluation Ad Hoc Working Group.

Paulo Luiz Moreaux Lavigne Esteves (Brazil)
Mr. Paulo Luiz Moreaux Lavigne Esteves is the General Supervisor at the BRICS Policy Center. He has previously held consultancy positions with UNDP, the State Government of Minas Gerais, CNPq and CAPES. Between 2005 and 2009 he served as director of the Brazilian International Relations Association and is currently an elected member of the Executive Board of the International Studies Association section on ‘International Political Sociology’. He is presently engaged in research on the convergence among the fields of international security, humanitarianism and development.

Hanaa El Hilaly (Egypt)
Ms. Hanaa El Hilaly is the Director-General of the Social Fund for Development in Egypt and the Managing Director and Board Member of Amwal Financial Investments (Pioneers Holding Group). She is also currently a board member for the Tadamon/Solidarity Microfinance Foundation, the Egyptian SMES Association, the Business Enterprise Support Tools (BEST) SMEs Foundation, and the Arab Foundation for ‘your Young Scientists’. She is an advocate for women’s empowerment and chairs the Women in Business and International Cooperation Committees of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.

Jennifer Jones (Jamaica)
Ms. Jennifer Jones is a Sociologist and Social Researcher specializing in development issues, social policy and community development. Currently working with a colleague on a Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Belize for UNICEF, her recent work includes leading Jamaica’s first customer feedback survey in courts across the island for the Ministry of Justice in 2014 and co-preparation of a Poverty Reduction Action Plan for the Government of Montserrat in 2013. She also prepared Jamaica’s Report and National Presentation for the 2009 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review.

Maria Isaltina Lucas (Mozambique)
Ms. Maria Isaltina Lucas is the President of the National Statistics Institute of Mozambique. She previously held positions as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economy and Finance; the National Director of Treasure; the Deputy Director of Public Finance Reform; the Deputy National Director of Treasure and the Head of the Department of Domestic Debt and Debt Analysis.

Ibrahim Mayaki (Niger)
Mr. Ibrahim Mayaki is the Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). He previously served as Prime Minister of Niger (1997-2000), Minister in charge of the African Integration and Cooperation as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has also held the position of Executive Director of the Rural Hub, a Platform in support of Rural Development in West and Central Africa and was a guest Professor at the University of Paris XI.

Ms. Sara Pantuliano (Italy)
Ms. Sara Pantuliano is the Director of Humanitarian Programmes at the Overseas Development Institute. She is also the Vice Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Risk and Resilience of the World Economic Forum, a Trustee of SOS Sahel, and a member of a range of advisory boards, including the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, the Refugees Studies Centre and the UN Association of the UK.

Sanjay Reddy (India)
Mr. Sanjay Reddy is an Associate Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research. He has worked extensively as a researcher, consultant, and expert for international organizations, such as the G-24, ILO, Oxfam, UNAOC, UN DESA, UNICEF, UNDP, UNU-WIDER, UNRISD and the World Bank. He has been a member of the advisory panel for UNDP’s Human Development Report, the UN Statistics Division’s Steering Committee on Poverty Statistics, and the advisory board of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

Edward Sambili (Kenya)
Mr. Edward Sambili is currently a faculty member with the Economics Department at Egerton University in Kenya. He was previously the Permanent Secretary in charge of National Planning, Kenya’s Vision 2030, the ACP, MDGs, NEPAD and the APRM. He was a member of the Post-MDGs Contact GROUP, a Japan-led international panel of experts on the post-2015 agenda. He was also the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya and the former Director of the Capital Markets Authority.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Latvia)
Ms. Vaira Vike-Freiberga was the sixth President of Latvia (1999-2007). During her Presidency, she was known for raising her nation’s recognition through her work at the UN, the EU and through other international activities. She was named Special Envoy to the Secretary General on UN reform and was an official candidate for UN Secretary General in 2006. She is affiliated with 29 international organizations, including the Council of Women World Leaders, the International Criminal Court Trust Fund for Victims, the European Council on Foreign Relations, and the World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid.

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