TEHRAN, 13 April 2013 (UNIC)—United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis, presented his credentials to Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi here on Saturday.
During the meeting Mr. Lewis expressed his honour to have been designated by the UN Secretary-General to represent the UN in a country which has both contributed immensely to world civilization and was also a founder-member of the United Nations. In his new capacity, Mr. Lewis will also serve as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative
He assured the Foreign Minister that “the Islamic Republic of Iran can count on the role of the United Nations’ agencies, funds and programmes on the ground, to work in partnership – and with transparency, impartiality and respect – to deliver on mutually-agreed development goals.”
At the same time, he added that it was “important for the international community to recognize the progress which the Islamic Republic has made in attaining – and even exceeding – several of the Millennium Development Goals, such as those relating to the increase in the education of girls and the reduction of maternal mortality, over the past two decades.” The UN, he added, “is a neutral body and remains at the service of all its Member States to promote peace and development.”
The UN presence in Iran consists of 17 agencies, one of the largest groupings of UN agencies, funds and programmes to be found in the world.
Mr. Lewis also used the opportunity of the meeting – taking place in the shadow of the tragic loss of life from the Kaki area earthquake near Bushehr – to reiterate the condolences of the United Nations to the government and people of Iran, especially the families who are now mourning the loss of loved-ones. He added that “the UN stands ready, willing and able to support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the recovery period, if requested to do so.”
Mr. Lewis is a national of Barbados. He has served with the United Nations for 25 years in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. He was born in Bridgetown in 1962. From 2008 to 2013, he was the Regional Representative of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific based in Bangkok. Also from 2004-2008 he served as Regional Representative, UNODC Regional Office for South Asia, based in New Delhi.
Mr. Lewis holds a Master of Science degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. His undergraduate years were spent at Queen's University in Canada and Glasgow University in the United Kingdom. He is a University of the West Indies Exhibition holder. Mr. Lewis is a published author on Barbadian history and has also written journal articles on matters related to drug control.
He is accompanied in Tehran by his wife, Elizabeth Lewis. Together they have three university-age daughters