The South Asian Times

18 July 2018 10:27 AM

Highest-ranking Indian at UN gets more responsibilities

By Arul Louis

United Nations, July 7: Atul Khare, the highest-ranking Indian at the UN, will take over the newly-created Department of Operational Services (DOS) with a greater role in providing logistical support to all of the UN, especially in international hotspots.

The Department of Field Services (DFS) that he now heads has been folded into the new department that he will lead under a reorganisation plan approved by the General Assembly on Thursday as a part of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's ambitious reform plan to streamline the UN.

Khare is an under-secretary-general and a member of the Senior Management Group, the UN Secretariat's high-level body chaired by the Secretary-General -- the only Indian at that level.

The DFS provided logistical support only to the UN peacekeeping operations, but the new DOS he heads will be "serving all of the Secretariat, including field missions, departments, offices, regional commissions, and tribunals", UN Peacekeeping Spokesperson Nick Birnback told IANS on Friday.

"DOS will become the operational arm of the UN Secretariat providing both advice to managers and operational and transactional services," he said.

The new department will absorb logisitics functions in all areas of the UN operations to avoid duplication and introduce efficiencies.

Besides continuing to provide logistical support for the 13 peacekeeping operations, DOS will take on the servicing of the 26 political missions that include the critical ones in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Colombia, Sudan and South Sudan.

Introducing his reform proposals December 2017, Guterres said the DOS will be "focused on operations, services, transactions and surge support to entities in weak environments".

He said: "Reform of the peace and security architecture is aimed at ensuring we are stronger in prevention, more agile in mediation, and more effective and cost-effective in peacekeeping operations."

Simultaneously, the General Assembly also approved the reorganisation of the Department of Management, which will now be a part of the new Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC) that will take on broader responsibilities for the entire secretariat.

Khare, a doctor by training, is a member of the Indian Foreign Service.

Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed him under-secretary-general to head the DFS in 2015.

Previously he had worked as an assistant secretary-general and as a special representative.

He played a leading role in combating the sexual abuse and exploitation problem by enforcing the zero-tolerance policy.

Update: 07 July, 2018

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