Heraldo Muñoz assumes role as head of UNDPs Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean
New York – Heraldo Muñoz of Chile began his appointment today as United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Director for its Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.
In his new post, Muñoz will lead more than 890 professionals covering UNDP's 24 country offices in the region working on democratic governance, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and conflict prevention and recovery.
“I am a great admirer of Heraldo Muñoz’s work in democratic governance and peace-building, and I have high confidence in his ability to continue UNDP's legacy in helping shape public policy in Latin America and the Caribbean," said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.
Prior to his appointment, Muñoz served as the Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations (UN) for seven years and chaired the UN Peace-Building Commission. He has performed a number of other important functions with the UN, including Facilitator of the Security Council reform consultations (2007-2008), Vice President of the General Assembly’s 61st Session (2006-2007), and President of the Security Council (2004). He was also Chairman of the Commission of the Inquiry into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, appointed by the Secretary General in February 2009.
Heraldo Muñoz served in a number of positions with the Chilean Government, including Minister Secretary General of Government (2002-2003) in the cabinet of President Ricardo Lagos, Deputy Foreign Minister (2000-2002), Ambassador of Chile to Brazil (1994-1998) and Ambassador of Chile to the Organization of American States (1990-1994).
“Several countries in the region have made progress in recent years in reducing poverty, but inequality prevails as a key obstacle to development and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,” Muñoz said. “Thus, we will have to intensify our efforts to reduce poverty and inequality and, in parallel, to improve democratic governance. Democracy is more than periodic elections, and the quality of democracies in the region needs to be improved, with the help of UNDP. These, in addition to sustainable development, conflict prevention and recovery – particularly in Haiti – will be my key priorities, as discussed with Administrator Helen Clark, also with a greater role for middle income countries in tackling the problems of the region through South-South cooperation.”
Muñoz succeeds Rebeca Grynspan of Costa Rica, who started her new role as UNDP’s Associate Administrator this February.
Muñoz is a widely published author on Latin American foreign relations, democracy, human rights and development issues. His memoir The Dictator’s Shadow won the 2009 WOLA-Duke University Book Award to the best English-language book on Latin America, democracy and human rights.
He holds a PhD in International Studies from the Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver; a Diploma in International Relations from The Catholic University of Chile, and a B.A. in Political Science from the State University of New York at Oswego.
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For more information about UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean: http://www.undp.org/latinamerica