UN Secretary-General, OPCW Chief appoint Sigrid Kaag Special Coordinator
16 October 2013 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today the appointment of Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands as Special Coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Mission to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic. The appointment has been made in close consultations with OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü.
The establishment of the Joint Mission and the appointment of the Special Coordinator are based on the Secretary-General’s recommendations, formulated after close consultations with the OPCW Director-General, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2118 (2013), as outlined in letters from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council dated 7 and 13 October, and subsequent letters of the President of 11 and 16 October.
Currently Assistant Secretary-General of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 2010, Ms. Kaag brings a wealth of experience in international organizations and the diplomatic service, combined with country experience, notably in the Middle East. She served as Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Amman, Jordan (2007-2010), and prior to that as Chief of Staff to the Executive Director and Deputy Director of Programmes in New York.
She also served as Senior United Nations Adviser in the Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Khartoum, Sudan. She was the Chief of Donor Relations with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) between 1998 and 2004, and Senior Programme Manager with the External Relations Office of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), covering the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
Before joining the United Nations system in 1994, Ms. Kaag served in her country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Deputy Head of Sector in the United Nations Political Affairs Department at The Hague. Before joining the Netherlands Ministry, she worked for Shell International Petroleum Company in London.
Ms. Kaag holds a Master of Philosophy in international relations of the Middle East from Exeter University, and a master’s degree in international relations from St. Antony’s College at Oxford University. Besides Dutch, she is fluent in English, French and German, and proficient in Arabic.
Born in 1961, Ms. Kaag is married and has four children.