International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has welcomed the appointment of Nardos Bekele-Thomas as the United Nations Resident Coordinator to South Africa.
This makes Bekele-Thomas the highest-ranking UN official in the country, who will be a direct representative of the UN Secretariat.
Her role includes, but is not limited to, ensuring the coordination of all UN operational activities for its development programme in the country and to facilitate the alignment and coherence of UN operational activities for development in line with national priorities and development objectives of the host country.
Prior to her appointment to this position, Bekele-Thomas was the Senior Director of the Office of the UN Secretary General.
Sisulu congratulated Bekele-Thomas, saying her experience will offer deep insight into the development challenges confronted by South Africa, the continent and developing countries as a whole.
"We believe that the relationship between the UN entities and our government departments will be elevated in order to maximize the mutual benefits of the relationship between South Africa and the UN system.
"It is important that the operations of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in South Africa are relevant and closely aligned with and supportive of South Africa's national priorities such as job creation, education and skills development, healthcare and rural development," added Sisulu.
South Africa currently hosts 17 UN agencies engaged in activities and projects in support of South Africa's national priorities and development objectives. These include UNICEF, UNAIDS and UNHCR.