Arab States


Abdallah Al Dardari

UN Assistant Secretary General
UNDP Assistant Administrator
Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States

On 14 March 2023, the UN Secretary General appointed Abdallah Al Dardari of Syria as the UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States.

Al Dardari served as UNDP Resident Representative in Afghanistan since 2019, when joining from the World Bank, where he was a Senior Adviser.
He started his professional career in 1986 as an international affairs writer and bureau chief of the pan - Arab newspaper “Al Hayat” and then became the Economist at the London office of the League of Arab States.

From 1994 to 1997, he served as Programme Officer in UNDP Syria country office and then joined the Arab Trade Financing Programme/Arab Monetary Fund group as Chief of the Trade Promotion section.

He was appointed in 2003 as Chairman of the State Planning Commission in Syria, a function he held until 2005, when he became Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs.

He further served as Chief Economist with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in 2011 and later, Deputy Executive Secretary, where he led the efforts for understanding conflict dynamics in the Arab region.

Al Dardari holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Richmond College in London, UK, a Master's in International Relations from the University of Southern California, US, and an interdisciplinary PhD in post-conflict reconstruction from Università Iuav di Venezia, Italy.
He also studied international relations at the London School of Economics, UK.
He is fluent in Arabic, English and French, with an understanding of Russian and Turkish.

Marina Walter

Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director

Regional Bureau for Arab States
United Nations Development Programme

Marina served in UNDP as Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS (RBEC) prior to this appointment. Before re-joining UNDP, she served for three years (2018-2022) as UN Resident Coordinator for the UN’s Multi-Country Office covering Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Aruba, Curaçao, and St. Maarten.

Prior to this, she worked as UNDP Country Director a.i. and Deputy Country Director in India (2015-2018) and as UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Thailand (2013-2015). Marina also served for five years (2007-2013) as the Deployment Coordinator of UNDP’s global emergency rapid response programme (SURGE) in the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) in New York following a previous two-year appointment (2005-2007) in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she managed UNDP’s Civil Service Leadership Development Project.

Prior to her time in Afghanistan, she worked as Capacity Building Advisor for UNDP (2002-2005) as well as the UN Training and Research Institute (UNITAR) out of Geneva and New York (1996-2002) on capacity building, resource mobilization, and public private partnerships, work which led her to Africa, Asia, and Europe. Prior to her joining the UN in 1996, Marina worked as a freelance journalist in Berlin, Germany.

Marina holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Politics from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA and a Master degree in International Politics, Economics, and Law, from the Free University of Berlin, Germany. She speaks German, French, and English.