NEW YORK - Asako Okai, who most recently served as Japan’s consul general in Vancouver, British Columbia, officially began her new role as the United Nations Development Program’s assistant administrator and director of the Crisis Bureau, it was announced Wednesday.
“I am honored and excited for this opportunity to lead the Crisis Bureau at such an important moment in time,” Okai said in a released statement.
“I look forward to working with the talented and steadfast colleagues within UNDP and across agencies to support the countries we serve towards improving preparedness, crisis response capacities, and resilience.”
In her new role, which is at the assistant secretary-general level, she is charged with leading the organization’s corporate crisis-related work and setting out priorities for preventing, responding to and recovering from crises.
“UNDP has a unique opportunity to strengthen its interventions in crisis and fragile settings to address root causes, development deficits, and reduce vulnerabilities that bring together humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts in the context of the U.N.’s new way of working,” said the UNDP’s Administrator Achim Steiner.
“This is a critical time to lead our crisis work and I warmly welcome Ms. Okai to her new role.”
With more than three decades of work experience within the U.N. and the Foreign Ministry, Okai succeeds Izumi Nakamitsu, who currently heads the Office of Disarmament Affairs as its undersecretary general and high representative.