Mr. Knut Ostby, the newly appointed United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, presented his credentials to Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua this morning.

Mr. Ostby will represent the UN and UNDP in 10 countries, including Solomon Islands. The UN Resident Coordinator is the highest-ranking UN official in the Pacific, and is based in Suva.

"Solomon Islands have some of the most important programmes for the UN in the Pacific," said Mr. Ostby. "Solomon Islands are a 'self-starter' in UN reform, and it was here that we established the first Joint UN Presence in the Pacific."

Mr Ostby brings with him a wide range of experience within the UN system, including UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Kazakhstan 1996-1999, Senior UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Afghanistan 1999-2003, UNDP Evaluation Advisor in New York 2003-2005, UNDP Recovery Manager in the Maldives 2005, and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Iran 2006-2009.

"We are delighted to welcome Mr. Ostby to Solomon Islands so soon after taking up his position in Fiji," said Prime Minister Sikua. "The Government of Solomon Islands has always enjoyed good relations with the United Nations, and we hope to further strengthen our relationship in the coming years."

The United Nations in Solomon Islands comprises one department and six agencies: the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF); the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF); the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UN/DSS); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA); the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM); and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Seven other United Nations entities work in Solomon Islands but do not have offices here: the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); the International Labour Organisation (ILO); the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the United Nations Industrial Deveopment Organisation (UNIDO); and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV).