Ms. Alberdi, who succeeds Noeleen Heyzer, was selected by UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis in consultation with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UNIFEM Consultative Committee, the agency said in a press release.“The selection process was comprehensive and extensive, taking into account both the challenges facing UNIFEM as such as the broader requirements of strengthening gender-focused work throughout the UN system, something to which the Secretary-General attaches great importance.”Ms. Alberdi has had a long career dealing with issues related to gender, development and politics. From 2003 to 2007 she was a deputy in the Madrid Assembly, and before that she has worked for the European Union, the Spanish Sociological Research Centre and the Inter-American Development Bank.She has also worked as a professor of sociology at Complutense University of Madrid, and has published several books on the social status of women.UNIFEM is tasked with providing financial and technical assistance to programmes and strategies that foster women’s empowerment and gender equality, focusing particularly on reducing poverty, ending violence and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS.In another appointment, Mr. Melkert announced that Mr. Ban has appointed India’s Ajay Chhibber as Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of UNDP and Director of its regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific. He replaces Hafiz Pasha. 7 April 2008The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced today that Inés Alberdi of Spain has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).