DEVELOPMENT REPORT - New UN Refugee and Population Chiefs

By Caty Weaver

This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

Last month, the United Nations named new chiefs for two of its agencies. The former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Ruud Lubbers, will become the U-N High Commissioner for Refugees. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid of Saudi Arabia will be the next director of the U-N Population Fund.

Mr. Lubbers will replace Sadako Ogata of Japan on January first. Missus Ogata has led the U-N Refugee Agency for ten years. Secretary General Kofi Annan praised her work with the agency when he announced her replacement. Mr. Annan said choosing a nominee for refugee agency chief was difficult. The U-N-H-C-R assists more than twenty-two- million refugees, asylum seekers and homeless people around the world. It has a budget of one-thousand-million dollars. Mr. Lubbers will supervise more than five-thousand refugee agency workers in one-hundred-twenty countries.

Mr. Lubber's homeland gave almost forty-million dollars to the refugee agency this year. The Netherlands is the U-N-H-C-R's fourth largest financial supporter. The U-N traditionally gives the position of agency chief to a country that invests a large amount of money in the agency. The other major supporters are the United States, Japan and Sweden.

Mr. Annan also named a new director for The United Nations Population Fund. The U-N-F-P-A provides the most population assistance in the world. About twenty-five percent of all population assistance from national governments is provided through the U-N-F-P-A.

The agency has two main goals. The first is to help countries provide their people with good reproductive health and family planning services based on individual choice. The second is to establish population policies that support healthy economic and social development.

Thoraya Obaid is the first person from Saudi Arabia to be appointed chief of a U-N agency. She will replace Nafis Sadik of Pakistan who has led the U-N-F-P-A since Nineteen-Eighty-Seven. Mizz Obaid has been a Population Fund official since Nineteen-Ninety-Eight. She has worked for the U-N since Nineteen-Seventy-Five. A major part of Mizz Obaid's work has been to help governments establish programs that support equality between men and women.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Caty Weaver.

Voice of America Special English