Ms. Rabab Fatima began her tenure as High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States in August 2022.
It is the role of the High Representative to mobilize international support in favour of the ninety-one most vulnerable member states of the United Nations. It is her mandate to advocate on their behalf and raise awareness of their economic, social and environmental potential and ensure that the pressing needs of the 1.1 billion people who live there remain high on the international agenda.
As Secretary-General of the forthcoming Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha, Qatar, in March, 2023, one of Ms Fatima’s first priorities will be to lead the implementation of an ambitious new Programme of Action for the LDCs. This global compact will support the Least Developed Countries through the decade 2022-2031 as they seek to recover from COVID-19, tackle climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The new High Representative will also lead preparations for the Third United Nations Conference on the Landlocked Developing Countries and the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Small Island Developing States, both of which are scheduled for 2024.
Ms. Fatima brings to the position more than thirty years of experience in national and international civil service, encompassing bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, policymaking, advocacy, programme planning and implementation.
Prior to her appointment, she was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York. During that stint, she co-chaired the preparatory committee of the LDC-5 Conference, and served as the Presidents of the Executive Board of UNICEF (2020) and UN-Women (2022); and the Vice-President of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board; Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission; and led other inter-governmental processes.
She was also the Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan (2016-2019), and has served as Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangladesh (2015-2016), Regional Representative for South Asia (2007-2011) and Regional Adviser for South and South-West Asia and Regional Adviser for Climate Change and Migration (2012-2015) of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Geneva, and Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London (2006-2007).
Ms. Fatima joined her country’s diplomatic service in 1989 and served in various capacities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in Bangladesh missions in New York, Kolkata, Geneva and Beijing.
She holds a master’s degree in international relations and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, United States, and a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of Canberra, Australia.