Press Releases

    SG/A/978
    BIO/3737
    IHA/1141
    6 February 2006

    Biographical Note

    Secretary-General Appoints Kjell Magne Bondevik of Norway Special Humanitarian Envoy for Horn of Africa

    NEW YORK, 3 February (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway, as his new Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa, in response to recurrent drought and food insecurity devastating the region.

    More than 40 per cent of the population are currently undernourished in the Horn, one of the most food-insecure regions in the world. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that severe drought is threatening the lives of an estimated 11 million people across Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia. This compounds what is already a dire humanitarian situation in countries beset by years of high rates of malnutrition and morbidity, chronic food insecurity and the effects of conflict.

    Mr. Bondevik will work with the United Nations system, the Governments of the affected countries, the donor community, non-governmental organization partners and other civil society organizations, to ensure effective humanitarian action. He will help the affected Governments strengthen comprehensive country food security programmes, with a focus on tackling the root causes of chronic food insecurity. He will work to build stronger regional cooperation on food security issues between the main intergovernmental organizations, and act as an advocate for long-term funding and technical expertise from multilateral and bilateral donors, in support of national efforts to reduce vulnerability and food insecurity.

    As Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mr. Bondevik succeeds Martti Ahtisaari, the former President of Finland, who was appointed in November as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Future Status Process for Kosovo.

    Mr. Bondevik served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000 and from 2001 to 2005. After leaving office, he founded the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights, where he serves as President.

    Mr. Bondevik was Minister of Foreign Affairs in Jan P. Syse's Government (1989-1990), Minister of Church and Education in Kåre Willoch's Government (1983-1986), also Prime Minister Willoch's Deputy (1985-1986), and State Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister during Lars Korvald's Government (1972-1973).

    Mr. Bondevik was a Member of the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) from 1973 to 2005, and was a deputy Member from 1969 to 1973. He was his party's parliamentary leader on numerous occasions (1981-1983, 1986-1989, 1993-1997 and 1997). He was member of Stortinget's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs (1993-1997 and 1986-1989), the Standing Committee on Defence Affairs (1990-1993), the Standing Committee on Finance (1977-1983) and the Standing Committee on Church and Education (1973-1977).

    Mr. Bondevik was leader of the Christian Democratic Party from 1983 to 1995, leader of the party's youth organization from 1970 to 1973, and deputy leader there from 1968 to 1970. In 1972 to 1973 he was a member of the municipal council and the school board of Nesodden in the County of Akershus.

    Mr. Bondevik has been a member of the board of the Norwegian Atlantic Committee.

    Mr. Bondevik was a theological candidate from Norway's Free Faculty of Theology in 1975. In 1979 he was ordained as priest in the (Lutheran) Church of Norway.

    Mr. Bondevik was born on 3 September 1947, in Molde in the County of Møre og Romsdal. He is married to Bjørg Bondevik, and has three children.

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