Egyptian minister Ghada Waly picked to head UN drug agency

Ms Waly will also serve as director general of the United Nations Office at Vienna

Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidarity of the Arab Republic of Egypt. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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Egyptian minister Ghada Fathi Waly has been appointed to take over as the next executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Ms Waly will succeed Yury Fedotov of the Russian Federation at the UNODC, and "brings to the position more than 30 years of experience in the field of sustainable development, poverty reduction and social protection, women and youth empowerment", said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The UN chief's office said Ms Waly will also serve as director general of the United Nations Office at Vienna, which is closely associated with the UNODC.

As Minister of Social Solidarity in the Egyptian government since 2014, Ms Waly has developed a national anti-drug strategy, led youth drug awareness and prevention campaigns and launched programmes to rehabilitate and reintegrate drug users into society.

She has also played a key role in government schemes to cushion the impact on low-income Egyptian families from the steep price rises resulting from reforms introduced in late 2016 as part of a deal with IMF to restructure the economy.

Ms Waly also served as co-ordinator of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Social Justice, Chairperson of the National Centre for Social and Criminological Research and chairs the Executive Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs in the League of Arab States.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry welcomed Ms Waly's appointment, saying her "expertise and efficiency will serve her well in the new position to bring about results in the face of the challenges arising from crime, organised crime and the spread of drugs and addiction".
Before her government role, Ms Waly was managing director of the Social Fund for Development from 2011 to 2014; the Assistant Resident Representative at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt from 2004 to 2011; and CARE International's programme director in the country from 2000 to 2004.

She holds a master’s degree in humanities and a bachelor's degree in foreign languages and literature from Colorado State University. She is fluent in Arabic, English and French and has a working knowledge of Spanish.