Noeleen Heyzer

Executive Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok


Noeleen Heyzer (Singapore) is the ninth executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General in August 2007, Dr. Heyzer is the first woman to occupy this position since its founding in 1947. Since taking office, Dr. Heyzer has positioned ESCAP as a powerful comprehensive platform for promoting regional co-operation among member states to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. Prior to her appointment to ESCAP, Dr. Heyzer was executive director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Dr. Heyzer is also the former chair of the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Women's Empowerment, responsible for implementing recommendations from the UN Conference on Population and Development, and the chair of the Sub-Group on Gender of the UN Development Group. In 1997, Dr. Heyzer established the Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, a three million dollar grant-making body that funds gender violence prevention work worldwide. She is the former head of the Gender and Development Program at the Asian and Pacific Development Center; a founding member of DAWN; and has served on the board of directors of numerous international organizations working for social justice and gender equality. She received a Ph.D. in social sciences from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Dr. Heyzer served on the faculty of Salzburg Seminar Session 353, Sustainable Rural Community Development, in 1998.


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