UN-SG appoints Senegalese Abdoulaye Mar Dieye special coordinator for development in Sahel

UN-SG appoints Senegalese Abdoulaye Mar Dieye special coordinator for development in Sahel

Moses Kuwema 

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Abdoulaye Mar Dieye of Senegal as the Special Coordinator for development in the Sahel.  

And Secretary-General Guterres also announced the appointment of Volker Perthes of Germany as his new Special Representative for Sudan and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).

Secretary-General Guterres announced the appointment of Mette Knudsen of Denmark as his new Deputy Special Representative (Political) for Afghanistan in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Mr. Dieye is a macroeconomist and development expert with strong leadership experience in managing complex development portfolios over the last 35 years.

Through Security Council resolution 2391 (2017) and Economic and Social Council resolution 2020/2, Member States called for strengthening collective and integrated engagement across the Sahel region to arrest the deteriorating situation, recognizing the inter-linked nature of the security, humanitarian and development crises.  

The resolutions reaffirmed the centrality of the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel and its support plan in providing a comprehensive framework to strengthen governance, security and development in the region.

In response, the Secretary-General is appointing the Special Coordinator who will lead collective efforts, including financing, to implement the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel and its support plan for a scaled-up United Nations development response for the Sahel, drawing on all the United Nations assets in the region, engaging and supporting efforts of the Group of Five (G5) Sahel, the Sahel-Alliance, the Ministerial Coordination Platform, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, the European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

Mr. Dieye is currently Special Adviser to the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  

He has held several positions in UNDP, including as Assistant Administrator and Director for the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (2018-2019); Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa (2013-2018); Chief of Staff of the Administrator, and Director of the Executive Office (2009-2013); and as Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States (2006-2009).  

Prior to that, he served as Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Abidjan.  Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Dieye held several senior positions within the Government of Senegal.

Mr. Dieye is a graduate of the Ingénieur Statisticien Economiste programme of the Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, Paris.  

He studied advanced and specialized mathematics at Lycée National du Parc, Lyon, and holds a master’s degree in development studies from the Institute of Social Studies, Den Haag.

And Mr. Perthes brings to this position over 25 years of experience in academia, research, international relations and diplomacy, including with the United Nations, as well as deep expertise in conflict resolution and regional geopolitics.  

From 2005 to September 2020, he served as Chief Executive Officer and Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), where he currently holds the position of Senior Adviser.  

From 2015 to 2018, he served as Assistant Secretary-General then Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, including as Chairperson of the International Syria Support Group’s Ceasefire Taskforce for Syria on behalf of the United Nations.

He has also served as Researcher and Head of Department at SWP from 1992 to 2005, and as Adjunct Professor for International Relations at Humboldt University of Berlin from 2007 to 2019. 

He began his academic career as Assistant Professor at the American University of Beirut (1991-1993).
Mr. Perthes holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in political science from the University of Duisburg in Germany.  He is fluent in English and Arabic.

Meanwhile, Ms. Knudsen succeeds Ingrid Hayden of Australia, to whom the Secretary-General expresses his gratitude for her dedicated service, brings to the position over 28 years of professional experience in diplomacy, international cooperation and economic development.  Most recently, she served as Ambassador of Denmark to Afghanistan.

She has held several senior positions with Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as Ambassador of Denmark to Kenya, Seychelles, Eritrea and Somalia (2015–2020), Greece (2012-2015), Cyprus (2014-2015) and Ethiopia (2004-2007), and as the Deputy Head of Mission in Zambia (2002-2004).  

She also served as the Ministry’s Head of Africa Department (2007-2012) and as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Nairobi (2015-2020) and to the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) (2004-2007).  Ms. Knudsen is a member of the Nordic Women Mediators — Denmark.

Ms. Knudsen holds a master’s degree in political science from Aarhus University in Denmark and has a supplementary degree in modern Greek language.  She is fluent in Danish, English and Greek.