On 8 June 2015 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced the appointment of Nikhil Seth of India as Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). He will succeed Sally Fegan-Wyles of Ireland, to whom the Secretary-General expressed his utmost gratitude for her dedication and commitment to the United Nations.
Mr. Seth brings to the position over 35 years of service as an international and national civil servant and a wealth of experience in leading, supporting and managing complex portfolios and intergovernmental processes, including United Nations summits and conferences in the economic, social and environmental fields. Mr. Seth is currently the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). He also served as the Head of the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and has supported the follow-up processes, including the work on the post-2015 development agenda and the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.
During his career with the United Nations, which began in 1993, Mr. Seth held positions as Director of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination (2006-2011), Secretary of the Economic and Social Council and Second Committee of the General Assembly (2004-2006), Chief of the Policy Coordination Branch in the Division for ECOSOC Support and Coordination (2001-2003) and Special Assistant and Chief of Office to the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (1993-2001).
Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Seth served, beginning in 1980, in the Indian diplomatic service, notably as a delegate in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in New York (1990–1993), with earlier diplomatic assignments in Geneva and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Married with two children, Mr. Seth holds a master’s degree in economics from Delhi University, where he also worked as a lecturer in economics at St. Stephen’s College.