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As Fréchette departs, tribute to UN’s first Deputy

As Fréchette departs, Annan pays tribute to UN’s first Deputy Secretary-General

As Canada’s Louise Fréchette departed the United Nations today after serving for eight years as its first Deputy Secretary-General, Kofi Annan paid tribute to her for leaving behind a more effective Organization.

“She has been crucial in ensuring coordination across the entire United Nations system – from economic and social issues to the strengthening of our peace operations,” Mr. Annan said in a statement, praising her “tireless efforts for a more coherent and effective UN, on subjects ranging from HIV/AIDS to our relationship with civil society.

“As the most senior woman in the history of the Organization, Louise Fréchette has been an inspiration to women both inside the United Nations and around the world,” he said. “As my right-hand woman, she has been a constant source of support and strength to me personally.”

The Secretary-General praised his Deputy’s “indefatigable” efforts for reform of the Organization, and her “unstinting faith” in its ability to keep changing for the better.

“We owe her a profound debt of gratitude for that legacy of reform and renewal – a legacy that is hers as much as it is mine,” he said.

Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Fréchette was the Deputy Minister of National Defence of Canada from 1995 to 1998. Prior to that, she was Associate Deputy Minister in her country’s Department of Finance. She served Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations from 1992 to 1995.

The 59-year old diplomat, who is fluent in French, English and Spanish, announced her intention to retire in December, 2005, saying she was leaving the UN to become a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo.

In her new job, Ms. Fréchette will chair a two-year research project on nuclear energy, ranging from political, economic and environmental implications of increased nuclear energy use to the risks of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

At the UN, she will be succeeded by Mark Malloch Brown, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Chief of Staff. A national of the United Kingdom, he served previously as the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) from 1999 to 2005.

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