strengths & interests

Current areas of work

  • The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs from a rights-based point of view
  • Combining rights-based universal social protection with the decent work agenda
  • Social and economic policy innovations and reforms, notably in South Asia and Southeast Asia
  • Human security and socio-economic insecurities

Affiliations

  • Senior Research Associate, UN Research Insitute for Social Development (UNRISD) since 2014
  • Member,  Governing Board of the German UN Association (DGVN) (since 2013)
  • Member, UNICEF NatCom Germany (since 2010)
  • Member, Mayor's Advisory Panel on Municipal Development Cooperation, Munich (since 2012)
  • Member, Board of Women Engaged for a Common Future (WECF) (since 2013)
  • Honorary Associate,  Institute of Development Studies (IDS Sussex) since 2015

Focus 

  • Economic and social development politics, policy and strategies
  • Human rights, equity and social inclusion strategies as prerequisite for socioeconomic development, social and climate justice
  • UN history and the history of development theory and policy, and policy coherence across UN agencies.

 

education & training

University of Maastricht: Graduate School of Governance, UNICEF Global Staff Learning Programme on Public Policy (April –Dec. 2006)

University of Ottawa and Carleton University: Senior Visiting Scholar of the United Nations. UN Sabbatical Studies Programme: Development Studies, Economic Development, Social Anthropology  (Sep 1989 -June 1990)

University of Wuppertal: Economics Department. Post-graduate studies and doctoral thesis on an analysis and critique of economic and social planning in the German Democratic Republic (Jan 1975 -Dec 1979)

University of Regensburg, MA in Economics (Diplomvolkswirt) (Jan 1973 - Sep 1974)

Eberhard-Karls-University, Tuebingen:  BA in Economics (Vordiplom); Sinology (Sep 1969 - Jun 1971; Sept 1971 – Dec 1972)

Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Economics, Sinology (1971-72)

Sophie Scholl Gymnasium, Munich: Secondary School: Abitur  (1965 -69)

Maria Ward Gymnasium, Munich: Secondary school: Mittlere Reife (1962-65)

St Joseph’s School, Spring Valley, New York: Primary school (1956-62)

professional experience

Since June 2010

Independent development economist, advisor and publicist, based in Munich

Writing, teaching and advocacy work on a range of development issues. Research and advisory work on South Asia and Southeast Asia, the 2030 sustainable development agenda, and the politics of social policy. Advisory work on municipal development partnerships with the International Department of the City of Munich.

  • Development and Welfare Policy in South Asia, co-edited with Deepta Chopra, was published. 2014 (Routledge). 
  • Poverty and the MDGs - a critical look forward, co-edited with Alberto Cimadamore and Thomas Pogge. 2016. ZED.

since 2013: Senior Research Associate at UNRISD

and prior to that Visiting Fellow, UNRISD. Looking at the role of the state, the concept of rights-based developmental welfare states, and the future development agenda.

since September 2010

Honorary Associate, Institute of Development Studies,  Sussex

During the visiting fellowship, undertook research on the history of social and economic policy and social protection in South Asia, contributed to IDS research, and worked with the IDS Centre of Social Protection (CSP). Gave lectures and advised graduate students on their research interests (see http://www.ids.ac.uk/go/idsperson/gabriele-k-hler).

January-May 2010

Chief, Communications, Information, Outreach, Office of the Secretary General, UNCTAD, Geneva

In charge of UNCTAD’s official outreach to governments, civil society, the media and academia. Developed a prioritisation strategy and new approach to advocacy and outreach with UNCTAD staff and member states. Headed and coordinated the preparations for the UNCTAD Civil Society Symposium 2010 on New Development Paths.

2005 - 2009
Regional Advisor on Social Policy: UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) Kathmandu
Conceptual work and research, capacity building and advocacy on economic and social policy. Analysing national development strategies – Five Year Plans  and annual fiscal budgets, looking at  MDGs , socioeconomic policies, livelihoods, the right to food and MDG 1, social protection, youth employment. Working with governments and  regional intergovernmental bodies, UN agencies and the international financial institutions,  bi-lateral donors, academic institutions and civil society. Created the South Asia social policy programme for UNICEF. Provided technical support to UNICEF Country Offices in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Led Unicef’s work with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Engaged with the CCAs, UNDAFs, Country Programme Documents, and MDG Initiatives in many South Asian countries. Developed a strategy to enhance social protection in Nepal - resulted in a child benefit introduced by the Nepal  Government in 2009.

2004 -  2005
Special Assistant to the Acting Secretary-General, and Chief, Policy Clearance Unit, UNCTAD, Geneva

Led, coordinated and ensured macroeconomic and sector policy coherence among programmes on globalisation, international trade, investment, and debt; innovation and technology; and least developed countries and island and landlocked countries. Reviewed and advised on UNCTAD's flagship policy publications, e.g. the Trade and Development Report, the World Investment Report, the Least Developed Countries Report, the Africa Report and the E-commerce Report. Special Assistant to the Acting Secretary-General of UNCTAD.  Developed an UNCTAD approach to Corporate Social Responsibility.

2002 -  2004
United Nations Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident-Representative, UNFPA Representative in Latvia,  Riga

Directed UNDP in Latvia as the country graduated to EU status: consolidated the programmes on social inclusion;  good governance,  public policy and judicial reform; environmental management; and youth and health.  Initiated new areas of programme work, including capacity building for EU structural funds; economic development to address unemployment and regional disparities; Latvia's (outward) development cooperation; Latvia's foreign policy with regard to multilateralism and its UN strategy. Initiated programmes on economic development: trade and investment promotion strategy adopted by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers. Led the Latvia Human Development Report (2002/2003) on human security - awarded the UNDP Human Development Prize for Excellence in Human Development Innovations; methodology replicated in several other countries.

1998 - 2002
Economist, Division on Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development, UNCTAD, Geneva
Produced policy-oriented research and intergovernmental consultations on the development impact of  foreign direct investment. Led the policy research team for the World Investment Report (WIR). - Directed the Division's internship programme. – Initiator, lead member and lecturer in the team conceptualising and planning for the  UNCTAD course on key issues on the economic agenda for policy makers.Led the research for the policy section of the UNCTAD World Investment Report 1999 on the impact of FDI on development and the case  for industrial policy.

1996 -1998 
Economist, Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, UNCTAD, Geneva      
Led policy analysis of commodity-dependent economies, including economic, social and institutional development, such as supply chains (incl especially food and non-food soft commodities and commodity-dependency and indebtedness for the UN General Assembly. Conceptualised and organised intergovernmental policy conferences on commodity diversification. Introduced multisectoral approaches to commodity research including on global trading channels. Prepared a comparative policy analysis of successful coffee-exporting economies in Asia (India, Indonesia and Vietnam).

June 1994 - Mar 1996  
Economist, Policy Clearance Unit, Office of the Secretary-General,  UNCTAD, Geneva 
Analysed the policy coherence and quality of UNCTAD flagship publications and documentation for intergovernmental sessions. Developed a communications strategy for the UNCTAD Secretary General. Co-chaired the UNCTAD-wide efficiency review, requested by and reporting to the UN Secretariat (NY).

1992 - 1994     
Economist, Least Developed Countries Programme, UNCTAD, Geneva 
Undertook research on macroeconomic, trade, and social development issues for the UNCTAD Least Developed Countries Reports 1992 and 1993/94, and other studies. Led research on development policy, trade diversification, health and education strategies in Least Developed Countries.

1986 – 1992     
Economist, Development Planning Division, ESCAP, Bangkok
Research for the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, in particular on economic performance notably in LDCs, socio-economic issues, especially poverty alleviation, and development co-operation and debt. Project manager, programme designer and lecturer for policy makers' capacity building. Developed partnerships with the Government of Thailand and academic institutions contributing to ESCAP LDC projects in the form of expertise. Initiated press and outreach work. Managed a project on domestic savings mobilisation (Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Lao PDR) and the LDC Project Management programme  (conducted in  Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Lao PDR, Nepal, Vanuatu). Co-authored the official Lao PDR document for the Global UN LDC Conference 1990

1983 - 1986   
Associate Economist, Natural Resources Division, ESCAP, Bangkok   
Assistant to the division chief and advisor to the ESCAP programmes on water resources, energy including new and renewable sources of energy, and minerals. Drafted an ESCAP Commission Note on the Law of the Sea. Editor-in-chief, ESCAP Water Resources Journal. Introduced socio-economic and gender perspectives for projects in the natural resources areas, including for the International Water and Sanitation Decade.

1980 - 1983                 
Journalist and educator                       
Journalist with the German Association of Publishers and the Booktrade; adult education specialist in public and economic policy with the Community College Network, Frankfurt.

1975 – 1979
Assistant Professor, Department  of Economics, Wuppertal University
Undertook research and taught undergraduate students – macro  and microeconomics, comparative economic systems, development studies, East European and China studies. Wrote a thesis on economic and social planning in the German Democratic Republic and published work on economic planning approaches in Eastern Europe and China.


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