H.E. Mr. Kul Chandra Gautum

Former Assistant Secretary-General
United Nations

Mr. Kul Chandra Gautam is a distinguished international civil servant, development professional, public policy expert, and human rights activist. Previously he was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. He has extensive experience in international diplomacy, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance.

Currently, Mr. Gautam informally advises Nepal’s senior political and civil society leadership on the peace process, consolidation of democracy and socio-economic development. He also serves on the Boards of a number of international and national foundations, charitable organizations and public private partnerships. Along with other prominent Nepali citizens, he led a Rollback Violence Campaign in 2008-2010. In 2010-11 Mr. Gautam served as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Nepal on International Affairs and the Peace Process.

Internationally, Mr. Gautam is Chair of the Council of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children (Japan/USA); Chair of the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund (USA); an International Trustee of Religions for Peace (USA); Member/Advisor of the Boards of GoodWeave Foundation (USA); RESULTS, Inc. and RESULTS Education Fund (USA); South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (World Bank); and Advisory Committee of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health to help prepare the UN Secretary-General’s Report on ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ – MDGs 4 and 5 (WHO/Geneva).

In Nepal, Mr. Gautam serves as Member/Advisor of the Nepal Development Council; the Nepal Public Health Foundation; the Arogya Foundation; the Rato Bangla Educational Foundation[ the Madan Pustakalaya Foundation; and as Patron of Chance for Change: Inspiring Young Futures; and as a Rotarian. During 2010-11, he was Chairman of the Board of Citizens Bank International, and Chair of the Gautam Buddha International Peace Award Committee.

In his long and distinguished career with the United Nations, spanning over three decades, Mr. Gautam had extensive dealings with leaders of governments, donor agencies, multi-lateral organizations, NGOs and the corporate sector in policy dialogue, advocacy and resource mobilization.

As a senior UNICEF official, Mr. Gautam provided leadership for strategic planning, policy guidance and programme management. He coordinated inter-agency collaboration and public-private partnerships for child rights and human development among UN agencies, donors and civil society organizations.

At the global level, Mr. Gautam dealt with the highest levels of policy making at the United Nations, including the General Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC and the UNICEF Executive Board. And he oversaw UNICEF cooperation in over 150 developing countries. Mr. Gautam has visited nearly 100 countries on official missions involving field visits as well as dealings with local and national leaders in Africa, Asia, Latin America, CEE/CIS and the OECD countries. He served UNICEF in positions of increasing responsibility and leadership in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Haiti, India and Thailand. He also served as Chief for Latin America and the Caribbean, as Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, and as Director for Planning and Programme at UNICEF Headquarters.

Mr. Gautam was the key senior UNICEF officer responsible for drafting the Declaration and Plan of Action of the 1990 World Summit for Children, the largest gathering of world leaders in history until that time. In 2002 he led the organization of another major United Nations conference – the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children – attended by 70 world leaders and thousands of child rights activists and civil society leaders, including celebrities and Nobel Prize Laureates.

Mr. Gautam served as Chair or member of the Boards of several international development organizations and public-private partnerships, including the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), the Micronutrient Initiative (MI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), Inter-faith Council for Ethics Education, etc. He is the winner of several awards, including the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award – 2008, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award for Lifetime Achievement given by Dartmouth College, USA in 2009.

Mr. Gautam was the highest-ranking Nepali in the UN system. During the decade-long civil war, he worked hard informally to secure the support of the UN and other key players to promote peace and reconciliation in Nepal. He spoke forcefully against violence, impunity and violation of human rights by all parties in the conflict. Mr. Gautam continues to speak out and write extensively on the peace process, democracy, human rights and post-conflict reconstruction and development in Nepal.

A citizen of Nepal, Mr. Gautam received his higher education in international relations and development economics at Dartmouth College and Princeton University in the United States of America. Born on 1 December 1949, he is married and has a daughter and a son.