Malé, 20th May, 2019: Ms. Akiko Fujii, the new Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives presented her credentials to His Excellency Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, during a brief ceremony in his office today.

Ms. Fujii, a Japanese national, has over twenty years of professional development experience with UNDP. Prior to this appointment, Ms Fujii was the Deputy Resident Representative (DRR) in UNDP Viet Nam. She also served as DRR in the UNDP Multi-Country Office based in Fiji (for Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu) (2012-2016), and in Jamaica (2009-2012), gaining a keen insight into the unique development challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as the Maldives. Earlier positions were as Head of Management Support Unit in Sudan (2006-2008), as Civil Society Liaison Officer and Programme Manager in Tokyo (2001-2006), and as Programme Officer in Pakistan (1998-2001). Before joining UNDP, Ms. Fujii worked for a community development NGO in Kyoto, Japan (1997-1998).

Ms. Fujii is taking office as the first UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives, following the delinking of the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative positions as part of a wide-ranging reform of the UN development system, transforming its structure and leadership to better serve member countries.

Mr. Shahid welcomed Ms. Fujii to the Maldives and expressed his desire to deepen the government’s relationship with UNDP as a strong resident UN development agency: “The recent elections in Maldives have shown the desire and expectations of the Maldivian people to strengthen democracy and protect human rights. However, democracy and human rights can only truly be achieved when there is development. Now is the time to consolidate the progress we have made and I look forward to working very closely with UNDP Maldives to achieve greater progress towards development.”

Ms. Fujii expressed deep appreciation to the government for the warm reception given to her and declared her strong commitment to working closely with the government in accelerating progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of national development priorities: “I am very excited and humbled by the opportunities ahead, as UNDP and the Maldives government set off on a new chapter in our relationship together, particularly at a time of critical shift from politics to development action. The UN reform provides excellent opportunities for UNDP to renew our partnership with the government, addressing urgent issues such as climate change and effective governance, at the same time as the new government itself is initiating important reforms for deepening democracy.”


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