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Germany Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul
© dpa - Bildfunk
German minister for Economic Cooperation & Development to head UN development conference

April 22, 2008

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has chosen Germany's Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul as a special envoy for an upcoming conference on financing development aid.

Social Democrat Wieczorek-Zeul has long made a name for herself as an advocate for the world's poorest countries. As the longest serving member of Germany's government, who has been in office since 1998, she is now taking on an honorary job for the United Nations.

As the UN's special envoy, Wieczorek-Zeul - together with South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel - is organising the International Conference on Financing for Development, which will take place in Doha, Qatar, from 29th November 2nd to December 2008.

The meeting is expected to focus on taking stock of current development cooperation and come up with binding assurances for the future, Wieczorek-Zeul said. As part of her new role, she'll also be responsible for helping to make the UN's millennium goals a reality. The goals include the reduction of debt of developing country, lifting trade restrictions and strengthening the financial power of poorer countries.

Wieczorek-Zeul, also known as "red Heidi" because of her leftist views and the colour of her hair, said that her nomination was a confirmation of "the high level of trust in the federal government and the reliability of German politics" at the United Nations.

By picking Wieczorek-Zeul and Manuel, the UN secretary general chose a representative from an industrialised and a developing country. The Doha conference is a follow-up meeting to another summit that took place in Monterrey, Mexico, 2002.



© Deutsche Welle
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