Chatterjee, new Resident Coordinator, to lead 25 UN agencies in East Africa
NAIROBI, KENYA, Aug 26 2016 (IPS) – Siddharth Chatterjee, the Representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Kenya, has been appointed UN Resident Coordinator, where he will lead and coordinate 25 UN agencies in East Africa. At the same time, he will also serve as the Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
At UNFPA, he and his team spearheaded efforts to reduce the unacceptably high maternal deaths in Kenya putting the spotlight on the challenges faced by adolescent girls, including child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and sexual and gender based violence.
Before he joined UNFPA, Chatterjee served as the Chief Diplomat and Head of Strategic Partnerships and was also responsible for resource mobilization at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) since 2011.
In 1997 he joined the UN in Bosnia and over the next two decades served in Iraq, South Sudan, Indonesia, Sudan (Darfur), Somalia, Denmark, and Kenya. He has worked in UN Peace Keeping, UNICEF, UNOPS, the Red Cross and UNFPA.
Welcoming the appointment, Ruth Kagia, Senior Advisor, International Relations and Social Sectors in the Office of the President of Kenya said, “Sid’s insightful understanding of clients’ needs as the UNFPA Representative in Kenya has translated into tangible gains in maternal, child and adolescent health. His relentless energy and focus on results has helped build relationships and networks of trust and confidence with the highest levels of Government, civil society, the private sector and development partners.”
Chatterjee is expected to continue his advocacy for women’s empowerment in Kenya where he has led notable initiatives to advance reproductive, maternal, neo-natal, child and adolescent health.
Dr Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa said, “Sid resolutely pushed UNFPA’s mandate in the hardest to reach counties and service of the most vulnerable. He mobilized resources and partners in the private sector to join this drive to leapfrog maternal and new-born health. This bold initiative was highlighted by the World Economic Forum in Davos and Kigali”.
Among Chatterjee’s other career achievements include mobilizing the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement to join the eradication of polio initiative; negotiating access with rebel groups to undertake a successful polio immunization campaign in the rebel controlled areas of Darfur; leading UNICEF’s emergency response when conflict broke out in Indonesia’s Aceh and the Malukus provinces; and overseeing UNICEF’s largest demobilization of child soldiers in South Sudan in 2001.
A prolific writer, Chatterjee’s articles have featured on CNN, Al Jazeera, Forbes, Huffington Post, Reuters, the Guardian, Inter Press Service, as well as the major Kenyan newspapers. He was recently profiled by Forbes magazine in an article titled, “Passionate Leader of UNFPA Kenya Battles Violence against Women, FGM and Child Marriage.”
His early career was in a Special Forces unit of the Indian Army, where he was decorated in 1995 for bravery by the President of India. Chatterjee holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Princeton University, USA and a Bachelor’s degree from the National Defence Academy in India.