Jan Harfst


Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, UNDP New York

United States
English, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Jan Harfst (The Netherlands) was appointed in March 2011 as Chief of the Division for Central Asian countries and Azerbaijan in UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in New York. 

Mr. Harfst began his UN career as a Junior Professional Officer with UNDP Dominican Republic in 1989. Subsequently, he was assigned to Mozambique as field implementation officer for the UN Capital Development Fund, after which he held different programmatic positions in the UN Office for Humanitarian Assistance Coordination in Angola.

In 1997, Mr. Harfst returned to UNDP in Tajikistan, where he was responsible for Tajikistan’s largest area-based post-conflict recovery programme, following the country’s peace agreement. In April 2002, he joined UNDP Ukraine as coordinator of another large-scale area-based initiative aimed at reducing tensions between Crimean Tatar, ethnic Russian and other communities in the peninsula. Additionally, Mr. Harfst also provided technical support to the Chernobyl recovery and development programme.

From 2005, Mr. Harfst worked as a consultant for UNDP in Afghanistan, Belarus, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. He developed a practitioner’s guide on area-based development for use in the region and beyond.

In mid-2008, Mr. Harfst joined UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery as senior programme adviser on early recovery, providing expert advice to post-conflict or disaster countries such as Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

Mr. Harfst holds a Master’s Degree in Human Geography from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.