UNDP Global Policy Centre for Governance
Arvinn Gadgil, Director
Arvinn has been engaged in governance and development policy for almost 20 years. Before joining UNDP he was Policy Director for International Development Policy in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recently he has focused on issues such as domestic resource mobilization, addressing illicit financial flows, anti-corruption, fiscal stability, and global economic governance. He has also led a system-wide development policy analysis network to improve Norwegian development policy engagements.
Arvinn has been Senior Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council and has held a number of board positions in academic institutions, civil society organizations and inter-governmental institutions. He held the roles of State Secretary, Deputy Minister and Junior Minister for international development, climate and environment over a period of six years in Norway. Trained as a career diplomat, he has also worked in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Arvinn holds degrees in development studies, economics and international studies from the UK and Norway. He is a Norwegian citizen, and an overseas citizen of India.
Anga R. Timilsina, Global Programme Advisor
is currently the UNDP’s Global Programme Advisor on Anti-corruption and provides overall supervision and guidance to the UNDP’s Global Anti-corruption project titled “Anti-corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies (ACPIS)”, which is UNDP’s flagship initiative for policy and programme support to UNDP programme countries. Anga has provided governance and anti-corruption technical support to more than 40 countries, including support for strengthening the capacity of government institutions, business sector, CSOs, media, youth and women’s networks to prevent and combat corruption. Anga also coordinates UNDP’s anti-corruption efforts at the global level including global advocacy and awareness, research and analysis, donor and partner coordination.
Anga was previously with RAND Cooperation, a U.S.-based nonprofit institution, where he worked on issues ranging from post-conflict reconstruction to health and education reforms in many developing countries. Anga has A Ph.D. in Policy Analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School and a master’s degree in international development from the International University of Japan. He also brings his experiences working for various non-governmental agencies in Nepal.
Niamh Hanafin, Senior Advisor, Information Integrity
Niamh joined UNDP in 2020 in response to growing calls from country offices for support and guidance on COVID19 disinformation. Niamh now leads OGC's work on information integrity more broadly. She is the author of UNDP's strategic guidance in this area: Information Integrity: Forging a Pathway to Truth, Resilience and Trust. Niamh represents UNDP in global conversations and forums, leads UNDP's information integrity research agenda and provides support to UNDP regional hubs and country offices on programmatic responses. Prior to UNDP, Niamh spent 8 years with Search for Common Ground, leading multi-million-dollar peacebuilding portfolios in Africa and Asia. She has over 20 years' experience in communication for social change, designing and managing innovative communications programming promoting children, youth, and women's rights.
Niamh holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Dublin City University and a Masters in Communication for Development from Malmo University. She has lived in Cambodia, Laos, Mozambique, Angola and Madagascar and worked in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Central African Republic
Aparna Basnyat, Senior Research and Policy Advisor, SDG16
Aparna has over 15 years of experience working on rule of law, human rights, and governance policy and programming at country, regional and global levels. She has supported UNDP country offices in the Asia Pacific and the Arab States regions, most recently as the Policy and Programme Specialist with the Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights Team in the Crisis Bureau where she focussed on engagement on access to justice and SDG 16. She has advised on country programming on rule of law across different development settings, supported inter-agency cooperation and partnerships with civil society on access to justice as well as led research and policy development on justice and human rights.
Aparna holds a Masters in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Tufts University.
Mariana Neves, Governance Statistics Specialist
Mariana has previously worked for the National Statistics Office of Cabo Verde, where she coordinated Governance, Peace, and Security Statistics at the national, regional, and global levels. In this capacity, she was the Group Praia on Governance Statistics coordinator. She represented her country in the negotiations and design of the Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. From 2016 to 2019, Mariana worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as a consultant on crime and criminal justice statistics in Eastern Africa. Since 2020, Mariana has been working as Governance Statistics Specialist for the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre on several measurement-related activities, including the SDG 16 Survey Initiative. Mariana holds a Post-Graduate Degree in Data Analysis for Social Sciences.
Julia’s work for the Centre focuses on how governance can leverage social, economic and environmental progress (‘SDG 16 interlinkages’), on identifying governance frontier issues and on inclusive stakeholder engagement. Throughout her career, Julia has been working at the intersection of different disciplines, e.g. between human rights and economics or between governance and sustainable fishing. When the SDGs were conceived, she co-designed the UN’s consultation guidelines used in over 80 countries and led the successful engagement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the negotiation process. She is a fully trained lawyer and holds an MSc in Development Practice from Oxford Brookes University.
Aida Arutyunova, Programme Manager
Ms. Aida Arutyunova has been with UNDP’s Global Anti-Corruption Initiative since 2010. Currently she manages UNDP’s Global Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies (ACPIS) project based in UNDP Oslo Governance Center. She manages activities of the programme that relate to work on transparency, accountability and anti-corruption specifically focusing on innovation, technology, work in sectors (education, health and water), gender and local governance, integration of anti-corruption into country programmes and strategies, etc. Ms. Arutyunova works with approximately 40 UNDP Country Offices on a yearly basis and liaises with different partners such as UNODC, OECD, U4, Transparency International, etc. in regard to joint activities.
Ms. Arutyunova brings 21 years of experience in working on development and humanitarian issues. Prior to working in UNDP Headquarters, Ms. Arutyunova managed an Anti-Corruption Programme in UNDP Armenia Country Office as well as worked for European Union (EUAG) as a national advisor to the Government of Armenia on the issues of anti-corruption, transparency, accountability and e-governance. Ms. Arutyunova also brings 6 years of experience with Catholic Relief Services where she managed projects focusing on community development, conflict prevention, anti-corruption etc. She also worked for UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome and managed the Central Asian portfolio of programmes. Ms. Arutyunova holds a Master's Degree in Political Science and International Relations from the American University of Armenia.
Torni Iren Johansen, Administrative Assistant
Torni Iren Johansen is as Administrative Assistant at the Oslo Governance Centre. Torni has more than 30 years of experience in administrative work. She has previously worked for the Norwegian Defence and has served abroad in a military capacity on several occasions. Torni also worked for 4 years at NATO HQ as an executive assistant before working for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 2001. While with DPKO she was posted to Kosovo, Lebanon and Haiti, working mostly with the Board of Inquiry. Torni moved to UNDP and the Oslo Governance Centre in 2008.