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Roma Bhattacharjea

Senior Gender Adviser
Policy and Planning Division, United Nations Development Programme, Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Global Headquarters

MPhil in Development Studies

1997-99

I currently work for the UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery’s (BCPR) global headquarters as the Senior Gender Advisor based in New York. The position involves contributing to cutting-edge global policy at UN headquarters, ensuring that it is informed by emerging thinking and from the vantage point of the marginalized and the excluded - not least women and girls impacted by armed conflict.

For example, my work entailed shaping and influencing the first ever Secretary-General’s Report on Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding (2010). It also entails working with different development practice-areas such as governance, economic recovery and strengthening the rule of law towards strategic and improved programming support to crisis countries.

My initial engagement with Development Policy within the UN began in the Gender and Development Unit of UNESCO HQ in 1999. Since then, I have worked to provide policy advisory support in the area of social development for UNDP country offices across the Asia-Pacific. I pioneered the first Gender Policy Office in 50 years of UN Peacekeeping Operations in the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

My education in QEH has been invaluable in enabling me to understand the contemporary world through truly multi-disciplinary lenses from a social development paradigm. I take this education with me wherever I go! Three academic issues that have been core to my learning:

  • That armed conflict has developmental roots and solutions needs to address root causes of political, social and economic inequalities;
  • That difference between social groups, including ethnicity, is not alone a driver of intra-national conflict but difference is valorized in contexts of inequality;
  • That a huge part of the understanding of a problem is the received framing of the problem!

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International Development: increasing well-being and reducing inequality in global society