Jamaican Michelle Gyles-McDonnough has been appointed Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System’s operational activities for development in Malaysia, effective July 1.
According to a press release from her office, Gyles-McDonnough will also serve as Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Malaysia, with additional responsibility for the Republic of Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, and will have overall responsibility and team leadership for the coordination of UN development activities in these three countries.
The former UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Gyles-McDonnough served in Barbados for five years.
During her tenure, she significantly raised the visibility of the development challenges facing small island developing states and mobilised other development partners to work together with the UN to support Barbados and OECS member states to address the impacts of climate change; make the transition to more sustainable energy future; strengthen capabilities to assess and manage disaster risks and impacts; and improve citizen’s security, well-being and life chances, among other key development areas, the release said.
Prior to her posting in Barbados, Gyles-McDonnough was Programme Adviser in the Executive Office of UNDP, and Regional Adviser in Jamaica. She also served in the United Nations as Coordinator for the Grenada Recovery Programme following Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and Chief — UNDP Caribbean Sub-Regional Resource Facility in Trinidad and Tobago, which she was instrumental in establishing in 1999. Before joining UNDP, Gyles-McDonnough worked with the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Washington DC as Member of Cabinet and Adviser to the Secretary-General. She was Legal Adviser/Alternate Representative for the Embassy of Jamaica and Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the OAS, and also with Winthrop Stimson Putnam and Roberts as an Attorney specialising in international trade. She began her career in 1990 in Zimbabwe as a Law Clerk for Harare Legal Projects Centre.
A mother of two, Sydney (11) and Liam (7), Gyles-McDonnough is married to Ambassador Lorne McDonnough, CEO of the Caricom Development Fund. She leaves for the South East Asia region today.