On 1 August 2014, UNCDF – the UN’s capital investment agency that promotes economic development and inclusive growth in the least developed countries – welcomes incoming Executive Secretary Ms. Judith Karl, appointed by the UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark on 10 July 2014.
Karl, a US national, has over 25 years of multilateral experience in international cooperation, development and poverty reduction.
As Director of the Operations Support Group of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Karl has played a leading role in supporting the advancement of UNDP’s organizational performance by coordinating corporate strategies, operational systems, and accountability mechanisms. Her responsibilities also encompass direct support to the UNDP Associate Administrator in the oversight of UNDP programmes, operations and related accountability for operational results.
Karl’s long and distinguished career includes more than 15 years in senior positions that combined intellectual, strategic and managerial leadership. She has served as Chief of Central Strategy and Policy Cluster for UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery; as Senior Policy Advisor with the Crisis and Post-Conflict Unit in UN Development Group Office; as Senior Advisor for UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery in Geneva; and as Deputy Director for UNDP Washington Liaison Office.
"It is a privilege for me to join an organization with such rich history and solid foundation,” Karl said. “UNCDF has a unique financial mandate within the UN system. The ability to provide capital financing – in the forms of grants, soft loans and credit enhancement – to both the public and the private sector; and the technical expertise in preparing portfolios of capacity building and infrastructure projects, makes its mandate a very useful complement to the mandates of other UN agencies.”
“As Executive Secretary, I look forward to working closely with the Executive Board and all our development partners, as we continue to implement the new UNCDF Strategic Framework 2014-2017 and provide effective responses and innovative solutions to the development challenges faced by the world’s poorest countries” added Karl.
Karl brings to UNCDF also a rich field experience in development cooperation. She started her career with the UN system in 1988 as a Training Officer, then served as Assistant Resident Representative with UNDP in Mali and in Cambodia and subsequently became a Policy Advisor for the Directorate in the Operations Support Group and UNDP Latin America and Caribbean.
Before joining the UN system, Karl spent seven years as a Management Consultant with a focus on redesigning business processes in the US private banking and real estate sectors. Karl holds a Master's degree in International Development Administration from New York University and a Bachelor degree from Columbia University.
About UNCDF: UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries. UNCDF has a unique financial mandate within the UN system: it provides investment capital and technical support to both the public and the private sector. UNCDF has proven its ability to deliver true leverage on smaller and more risky investments and interventions within its core areas of expertise: Inclusive Finance and Local Development Finance. UNCDF’s work on inclusive finance seeks to develop inclusive financial systems and ensure that a range of financial products is available to all segments of society, at a reasonable cost, and on a sustainable basis. UNCDF’s work on local development finance aims at ensuring that people in all regions and locations benefit from economic growth.