India’s Usha Rao-Monari, a leading investment professional, has been appointed by UN chief Antonio Guterres as Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of the UNDP, joining a growing list of women from the country appointed to helm key agencies of the global organisation. The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations’ global development network.
A statement issued by the UN Spokesperson here on Wednesday said that Rao-Monari, Senior Adviser to Blackstone’s Infrastructure Group, is an investment professional with almost three decades of investment experience, particularly in the infrastructure area. Rao-Monari previously served as Chief Executive Officer of Global Water Development Partners, a Blackstone portfolio company, and held several senior positions, including Director of the Sustainable Business Advisory Group at the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, the statement said. She currently serves on the Boards of several organisations in the field of sustainable development and has held various Board and advisory positions in the areas of water, natural capital, biodiversity and environment, it added. Rao-Monari holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Finance from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs/School of Business, a Master’s degree in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management in Mumbai and a BA Honors Economics from Delhi University.
Rao-Monari joins a growing list of women hailing from India who have been appointed to head key UN agencies. The announcement of her appointment comes just two days after the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), which focusses on providing micro-finance access to least developed countries (LDCs), said Preeti Sinha has commenced her tenure as Executive Secretary of the UN agency.
Last year in January, Guterres appointed Gita Sabharwal of India as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Thailand. Sabharwal, with 25 years of experience in development, peacebuilding, governance and social policy across five Asian countries, previously served the United Nations in Sri Lanka as the Peacebuilding and Development Advisor for nearly seven years.
Former Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research Soumya Swaminathan is the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization. In 2019, Anita Bhatia of India, an experienced leader in the area of strategic partnerships, resource mobilization and management, was appointed by Guterres as Assistant Secretary-General for Resource Management, Sustainability and Partnerships and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).
Veteran Indian diplomat and gender equality champion Lakshmi Puri has previously served as UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women.