Secretary-General names Cheick Sidi Diarra Special Advisor on Africa and High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS

UNITED NATIONS, 22 January 2008: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today the appointment of Cheick Sidi Diarra of Mali as the Special Advisor on Africa and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OSAA/OHRLLS).

The realignment of OSAA and OHRLLS under the same leadership, aimed at strengthening the Office, will help reinforce the advocacy role and enable greater inter-agency coordination and donor contacts to mobilize support for programmes dedicated to Africa’s development as well as to the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. It will further achieve greater synergy and strengthen the Organization’s ability to perform and deliver its services more efficiently, while at the same time respecting the distinctive character of each programme. It also aims to enhance focus on development and bolster coordination capacity on mandates related to Africa with a view to improving the Secretariat’s aptitude to better meet the specific needs of Africa.

Mr. Diarra, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States since July 2007, has over 25 years of professional experience in international relations – bilateral and multilateral, law and development.

Mr. Diarra has been actively involved in furthering African integration efforts and the African development agenda at the international level. He has served as one of the lead negotiators on these issues at African Union summits since 1982. From his decade-long experience dealing with the United Nations, he acquired first-hand knowledge and experience of multifaceted issues of the United Nations and its intergovernmental processes in particular.

He made important contributions to the reform process of the United Nations aimed at strengthening the Organization’s global role in economic and development matters. In this context he was an active player in the intergovernmental consultation process leading up to the strengthening of ECOSOC and follow-up of the development aspects of the 2005 World Summit, including the Millennium Development Goals. He has been a dedicated advocate for the cause of Africa, the least developed countries and landlocked developing countries.

Mr. Diarra obtained masters degrees in international public law and international relations from Dakar University in Senegal. He is married with two children.