By Jaya Ramachandran
NEW YORK | BANGKOK (IDN) – Dr. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), is convinced that the organization has the opportunity to lead from the front.
“The Asia-Pacific region has in recent decades seen remarkable social and economic progress,” says Dr. Alisjahbana who officially took office on November 1 in Bangkok. Much of this success has been built on strong foundations – on the richness and diversity of its cultures, and on the energy of the people who have changed the world by transforming their own economies, she adds.
However, the fruits of this innovation and ingenuity can only be fully realised if meaningful and sustainable change is brought to the lives of ordinary people. “Going forward, deepening regional cooperation will be critical to tackling a range of transboundary issues,” continues Dr. Alisjahbana. “Challenges that threaten to undo much of the hard-won gains require collective solutions.”
She heads a senior management team comprising two Deputy Executive Secretaries, 10 Directors in Bangkok and four in the subregions, who supervise the work of ESCAP’s substantive divisions, as well as operational and administrative matters.
Dr. Alisjahbana’s leadership at the helm of the UN’s regional development arm comes at a crucial time as the global organization undergoes its own reforms while stepping up its support to countries to implement the ambitious targets set out by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Prior to joining ESCAP, Dr. Alisjahbana was Professor of Economics at Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung, Indonesia, a position she assumed in 2005. From 2009 to 2014, she was Minister of National Development Planning and the Head of the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS), Indonesia.
She served as Co-chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation from 2012 to 2014. From 2009 to 2014, she was Alternate Governor of the World Bank and Alternate Governor of the Asian Development Bank representing the government of Indonesia.
In 2016, she was a member of the High Level Independent Team of Advisors to support the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the United Nations Development System in the context of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.
Dr. Alisjahbana earned her Bachelor degree in Economics and Development Studies from Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia, a Masters degree in Economics from Northwestern University, USA and a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Washington, USA.
She was awarded the Mahaputra Adipradana Order (Bintang Mahaputra Adipradana) from the Republic of Indonesia, honorary brevet from the Indonesian Navy and honorary flight wing from the Indonesian Air Force. [IDN-InDepthNews – 06 November 2018]
Photo: ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana. Credit: ESCAP
IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.
facebook.com/IDN.GoingDeeper – twitter.com/InDepthNews