United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 18 November 2019 the appointment of Kanni Wignaraja of Sri Lanka as the next Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

Ms. Wignaraja served as the Acting Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Management Services, UNDP and as Special Adviser to the UNDP Administrator, roles that she has performed throughout 2019, after working as the Director of the United Nations Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) from 2014 to 2018. 
 
She brings over twenty-five years of experience of the United Nations mission and UNDP’s role in the sustainable development agenda.  She has a deep knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the global, regional and country level workings of UNDP, across policy, programme, management and operations.  Ms. Wignaraja  joined the Organization in 1990 as the Policy and Evaluation Officer of United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and has worked in various field as well as in UNDP’s Headquarters in New York, serving in the Asia and Pacific and the Africa Region.  She also served in the Bureau for Development Policy in progressively senior positions, including that of United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia.

She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration (Development Economics) from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from Bryn Mawr College, USA.

Spread the Word, Not the Virus: Kanni Wignaraja, UNDP Asia-Pacific Director, on #COVID19
Sustainability Matters: Panel Discussion

Media Engagements 

·       8 September 2020. Blog. UNDP Asia Pacific. Eight months in, we need three wins: Vaccine, Digital and Renewables.

·       8 September 2020. Panel discussion. GovInsider. Sustainability matters.

·       8 September 2020. Op-ed with Shoko Noda. Times Now Digital. Put wellbeing and environmental sustainability ahead of economic growth for a better recovery.

·       1 September 2020. Interview. Bloomberg TV. UN Temporary Basic Income for the Poorest Could Slow Pandemic. (Yahoo link)

·       July 2020. Op-ed Article. ABD/ESCAP/UNDP. Determined Path to SDGs in 2030, Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

·       30 July 2020. Op-ed with Ignacio Artaza. GovInsider. Inside Pakistan’s digital innovation to tackle Covid-19.

·       20 July 2020. Op-ed Article with Akiko Fujii. Times Now Digital. The choices we make will determine the future for the Maldives

·       7 July 2020. Panel discussion. ESCAP/ADB/UNDP event. Fast-Tracking the SDGs: Driving Asia-Pacific transformations

·       26 June 2020. Interview. Dateline Will a Universal Basic Income save post-pandemic Asia?

·       24 June 2020. Panel discussion. Harvard event. Rearticulating Development Strategies: COVID-19, Human Development and the Environment

·       23 June 2020. Article. CNBC. Poor communities in Asia get only a ‘very thin trickle’ of economic help during coronavirus crisis, says UN

·       19 June 2020. Live Interview. CNBC Squawk Box. Video link

·       16 June 2020. Article. Asia Times. Protecting young startups during Covid-19 pandemic

·       11 June 2020. Panel Discussion. UNDP Gender Team. Exploring Universal Basic Income as a Social Protection Measure to Address Economic Security and Resilience for All in COVID-19 Response and Recovery. With Pablo Iglesias, Second Vice President of Spain, Kanni Wignaraja, and Professor of Economics and Finance, Northwestern University.

·       21 May 2020. Interview. Thomson Reuters Foundation. Pacific islands urged to retune post-pandemic for new economic age 

·       30 April 2020. Live Interview. Channel News Asia. Video link

·       17 Apr 2020 (with Balazs Horvath). Article. World Economic Forum. Universal basic income is the answer to the inequalities exposed by COVID-19

·       Other:

·       11 June 2020. Article by James Cabtree. Financial Times. Asia’s anti-poverty gains are under threat as the coronavirus and deglobalisation deliver a double whammy

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