Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2002
Ensuring sustainable livelihoods:

challenges for governments, corporates, and civil society at Rio+10
8 - 11 February 2002, New Delhi



DSDS 2002

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Conference proceedings
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Conference proceedings

Dr Brenda Gael McSweeney
UNDP Resident Representative & UN Resident Coordinator, India

Dr Brenda Gael McSweeney presented her credentials as the UN Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme Resident Representative in India on 28 January 1998. Dr McSweeney has been designated to undertake these dual responsibilities by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UNDP Administrator, respectively. The country cooperation with India represents UNDP’s largest single partnership globally. Around US $200 million in UNDP grant assistance are expected to be available in the Ninth Five-Year Plan period (to April 2002) towards helping the country address the vital issues of technology and employment and sustainable livelihoods, access to basic social services, management of development/governance, energy and the environment, and humanitarian disaster prevention and recovery.

Just prior to this assignment, Dr McSweeney served as Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme, since November 1988. This involved leadership and management of the UNV Programme with nearly 4000 UNV specialists working annually in technical cooperation in the economic and social fields, community-based initiatives for self-reliance, humanitarian relief and rehabilitation, and UN peace-keeping and peace-building operations. On 24 October 1997, Dr McSweeney was awarded, on behalf on the UN Volunteers, the ‘Medaille de Chevalier de I’Ordre National’ from the Government of Burkina Faso in tribute to this meaningful and innovative work.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr McSweeney is a national of the USA and of Ireland. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts and a Doctorate from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Medford, Massachusetts. In Geneva, she attended courses at the Graduate Institute of International studies and at the Institute of European Studies. As a Fulbright Scholar in Paris from 1967 and to 1969, she studied international development assistance at the Institute of Political Science of the Sorbonne. Her doctorate was in development economics.

Following teaching and research activities at The Fletcher school, Tufts University and Harvard University, and economics analyst assignments with the private sector and US Government (Executive Office of the President), Dr McSweeney served with UNDP as Programme Officer, then Assistant Resident Representative as of 1972, based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and spent six years there; during the last of her assignment in Burkina Faso, she carried out action-research in the area of women and development.

Three years as a Senior Policy Analysis Officer at UNDP Headquarters in New York were followed by her appointment in 1982 as the Kingston-based Resident Representative of UNDP, and Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System’s operational activities for development in Jamaica, The Bahamas, the Turks & Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. She is the author of a number of journal articles.

The Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation was awarded to Dr McSweeney in Jamaica in June 1988, and she served as a Founding Trustee of the Educational Trust Fund, and Women’s World Banking – Jamaica. She received a Doctorate of Humane Letters Honoris Causa from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California, May 1994 and served as a Trustee. In 1997 she became a Patron of the Global Cooperation Council/North-South Forum; and in 2001, a Founding Member and Co-chairperson of the Governing Board of the India Partnership Forum launched by the Confederation of Indian Industry and UNDP.