Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Denis J. Halliday, a national of Ireland, to the post of United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq as of 1 September 1997, at the Assistant Secretary-General level, and he served as such until end September 1998. During this period, the Security Council Resolution 986 “Oil for Food” Programme, introduced in 1996/97 to assist the people of Iraq under the Economic Sanctions imposed and sustained by the Security Council, was more than doubled in terms of oil revenues allowed. This enabled the introduction of a multi-sectoral approach, albeit modest, to the problems of resolving malnutrition and child mortality. Mr Halliday resigned from the post in Iraq and from the United Nations as a whole effective 31 October 1998 after serving the Organisation since mid 1964 - some 34 years.
Prior to that, and from mid 1994, Mr Halliday served as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management of the United Nations, based in its New York Headquarters. During this period, he introduced on behalf of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly a strategy for the better management, performance and development of some 15,000 United Nations staff world-wide.
Before taking up the Human Resources Management function in mid 1994, following a brief assignment in Thailand as UNDP Regional Representative, Mr Halliday had been Director, Division of Personnel, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from late 1989 into early 1994. He took over that post after being Chef de Cabinet, Office of the Administrator, of the UNDP for some two years.
Mr Halliday has spent most of his long career with the United Nations in development and humanitarian assistance-related posts both in New York and overseas, primarily in South-East Asia. Following a year in Kenya as a Quaker volunteer 1962-63, Mr Halliday joined the United Nations in 1964 serving in Teheran, Iran as a junior professional officer in the forerunner of UNDP - the United Nations Technical Assistance Board and Special Fund. From 1966 to 1972, he served in the Asia Bureau of UNDP Headquarters in New York and then transferred to Malaysia in 1972. In Malaysia, covering programmes in that country plus Singapore and Brunei, he served until 1877 as Deputy Regional Representative. In Indonesia, he continued at the Deputy level for two years until 1979, when he was asked to reopen and head up as Resident Representative the UNDP office in Samoa covering that country, the Cook Islands, the Tokelau Islands and Niue in the South Pacific.
In 1981, Mr Halliday was asked to return to New York to serve in the Asia and Pacific Bureau where he was involved in setting up the first round table meetings of UNDP for Asia. In 1985, he took up the post of Deputy Director, Division of Personnel before becoming Chef de Cabinet in 1987.
Mr Halliday graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and holds an M.A. in Economics, Geography and Public Administration. He is married and has a daughter, Fransisca.
(written by Denis Halliday, December 1998)