UN-HABITAT this week announced the appointment of Mr. Bert Diphoorn as the new chief of its water and sanitation department.
Mr. Diphoorn, 53, a Dutch national, gained international recognition for his organization of the Second World Water Forum in The Hague in 2000. Mr. Diphoorn, who spent many years as a water specialist in the Dutch foreign ministry, was appointed Head of its Water Support Unit in 1997. In 2003, he was seconded by the ministry to the African Development Bank where he helped establish its water facility.
He replaces Mr. Kalyan Ray, an Indian national who held the position for 17 years. Mr. Ray, 61, has worked at UN-HABITAT since 1980 in various positions in the field, as well as at headquarters. He will continue to serve as the Senior Advisor to the agency’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka.
"Mr. Diphoorn brings considerable experience to this important position,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka. "He brings to UN-HABITAT a wealth of experience in the international water sector, both in operational management and the provision of technical assistance and policy advice in Africa and Asia".
She said Mr. Diphoorn’s appointment would be of considerable benefit to UN-HABITAT at a time its quest to improve water and sanitation delivery takes on a new momentum in terms of its mandate under Target 10 of the Millennium Development Goals – to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by the year 2015.
UN-HABITAT’s water activities moved into a higher gear recently through the Lake Victoria small and secondary towns Initiative, and closer collaboration with the African Development Bank in forging the Water for African Cities programme. It is also working with the Asian Development Bank through the Water for Asian Cities programme, and the Mekong Small Towns programme in southeast Asia.
On the 10th anniversary Global Water Partnership 20 August, Mr. Diphoorn was one of 12 individuals publicly recognised by Crown Prince Willem Alexander of The Netherlands for significant contributions to the partnership.