Lakshmi Puri

Lakshmi Puri

Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Ms. Lakshmi Puri is Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. She is directly responsible for the leadership and management of the Bureau for Intergovernmental Support, United Nations Coordination, and Strategic Partnerships.

Ms. Puri joined UN Women in March 2011, shortly after its creation. As a member of the senior leadership team, she actively contributed to the institutional development and consolidation of the entity, shaping its first Strategic Plan and positioning it as the leading organization for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment globally. She steered UN Women’s engagement in major intergovernmental processes, such as the Rio+20 conference. She coordinated preparations for the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which saw the adoption of a historic agreement on ending and preventing violence against women. She also led efforts to build strategic partnerships, particularly with civil society and women’s organizations, and oversaw the adoption and implementation of UN systemwide accountability and coherence systems for gender equality and women’s empowerment. She acted as the interim head of UN Women from March to August 2013. Throughout her career, Ms. Puri has promoted the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda in various capacities in the context of peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. She has extensive experience in economic and development policy-making covering trade, investment, migration and labour mobility, financial flows, environment and climate change, energy, agriculture and food security, universal access to essential services, intellectual property rights, and traditional knowledge, among other issues.

Prior to joining UN Women, Ms. Puri was the Director of the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, where she coordinated the preparations for the fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries which resulted in major outcomes, including the Istanbul Programme of Action and Political Declaration.

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