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PRESS RELEASE Suva, Fiji Islands April 27, 1999

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced on 23 April 1999 that the General Assembly has confirmed Mark Malloch Brown as the new Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Mr. Malloch Brown will succeed James Gustave Speth, who is leaving UNDP to become Dean of Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

"In looking for a successor to Gus, I had three main criteria in mind," Mr. Annan said.

"I wanted a person with experience of management in a major organization which has to change and adapt as the world changes around it, continuing and building on what Gus has done. I wanted a strong and effective advocate of United Nations development activities and ideas, not only with donor governments, but in the wider public debate. It seemed vital to me that we establish a close working relationship between UNDP and the World Bank."

Mr. Speth said "the Secretary-General has chosen an excellent person to succeed me at UNDP. I have the utmost confidence in Mr. Malloch Brown, an individual of great integrity and vision."

Mr. Annan praised Mr. Speth for an "invaluable" contribution to his programme to reform the United Nations system. "Not only has he ably reshaped and revitalized UNDP itself; he has also got the new United Nations Development Group off to a flying start." The UN Development Group comprises the heads of UN development agencies, funds and other entities under the chairmanship of the UNDP Administrator. Its role is to achieve greater coordination and policy coherence among those bodies.

The Secretary-General said that he had relied heavily on Mr. Speth to move his reforms forward. "My confidence has clearly been shared by donor governments, 13 of which have pledged to increase their contributions to UNDP this year."

Mr. Annan said that for the past six years, Mr. Speth had been one of the United Nations’ most effective and articulate leaders. "He has advanced a vision of development that is both sustainable and centered on the real-life experience of human beings, and he has worked tirelessly to translate his concept into concrete and concerted action, especially in Africa."

Mr. Annan noted that Mr. Speth began his first four-year term as Administrator in 1993. "He said, when he accepted a second term, that he would only stay for two years, arguing that six years would be enough for him to complete the task he had set himself. And he has splendidly fulfilled his pledge."

The Secretary-General said that Mr. Malloch Brown came to UNDP with a strong record of service to the United Nations and the World Bank. He also noted his extensive service with developing countries. "I would note in particular his success in upgrading the Bank’s presence in Europe and in attracting funds from donors both there and elsewhere, including persuading Congress to clear the United States’ arrears. I am sure he will strengthen UNDP’s relationships with all the donors in a similar way."

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