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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
United Nations Secretary-General of the Johannesburg Summit and Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Mr. Desai began his government career in 1973 in the Planning Commission of the Government of India where he served in various capacities. In 1983 he served concurrently as Secretary of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.

In 1993 the then United Nations Secretary-General appointed Nitin Desai at the Under-Secretary-General level to head the newly created Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development. In 1997, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Mr. Desai to coordinate, and subsequently head, the consolidation of the three economic and social Departments. Mr. Desai is also the convenor of the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs which brings together the heads of all the UN Secretariat entities directly concerned with economic, environmental and social issues.

Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Desai was secretary and chief economic adviser in India's Ministry of Finance. He served as senior economic adviser for the World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Commission). From 1990 to 1993, Mr. Desai was the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. In that capacity one of his primary responsibilities was to coordinate the work of the UNCED Secretariat related to the development of Agenda 21, the principal programmatic outcome of the Conference.

Mr. Desai received a Bachelors degree from the University of Bombay in 1962 and, in 1965, earned a Masters degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Mr. Desai has worked as a consultant for Tata Economic Consultancy Services and lectured in economics at the Universities of Southampton and Liverpool in the United Kingdom. He has been a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat Expert Group on Climate Change, and of the Board of the Stockholm Environment Institute, and has published several articles and papers on development planning, regional economics, industry, energy and international economic relations.

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