Isabelle Durant

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Isabelle Durant
Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD.jpg
Isabelle Durant in 2019
In office
2003 – June 2011
Personal details
Born (1954-09-04) 4 September 1954 (age 68)
Political partyEcolo
The Greens–European Free Alliance
SpouseJean-Claude Willame

Isabelle Annie J. Durant[1] (born 4 September 1954) is a Belgian politician of the Ecolo party. She has been serving as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 2017 to 2021, before becoming acting Secretary-General of the organisation.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Durant graduated as a nurse, then became a vocational trainer for the care sector, and worked with schools in working-class districts. She later complemented her nursing degree with a bachelor's degree in social and economic politics from the Université catholique de Louvain.[3]

Political career[edit]

Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, 1999–2003[edit]

Between 1999 and 2003, Durant served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility and Transport in the Belgian federal government, Guy Verhofstadt's first government.

In 2003, Durant and her party colleague Olivier Deleuze resigned from Verhofstadt's government one week before the national elections and after a clash over the issue of night flights from Brussels Airport.[4][5]

Member of the Senate, 2003–2011[edit]

Durant was a member of the Senate between 2003 and 2011.[6] As a Senator, she served on Committees for Foreign Affairs, Social Affairs and participated in many elections observation missions (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Tunisia) (2003-2009).[7]

From 2004, Durnat also served as Federal Secretary and Spokesperson of Ecolo, this time with Jean-Michel Javaux and Claude Brouir but also as a replacement for Evelyne Huytebroeck who became minister in the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Member of the European Parliament, 2009–2014[edit]

Durant became a Member of the European Parliament in the 2009 European elections. She served as Vice President of the European Parliament under the leadership of president Martin Schulz between 2009 and 2014. In addition, she was a member of the Committee on Budgets, the delegation for relations with Iran and the delegation to the ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. In 2012, she also served on a cross-party working group which presented new rules for what gifts MEPs might accept.[8][9]

On 15 September 2010 Durant supported the new initiative Spinelli Group in the European Parliament, which was founded to reinvigorate the strive for federalisation of the European Union (EU). Other prominent supporters include Jacques Delors, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Guy Verhofstadt, Andrew Duff and Elmar Brok.

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Durant.

In December 2013, Durant led a European Parliament delegation – including Tarja Cronberg, Cornelia Ernst Marietje Schaake and Josef Weidenholzer – visiting Tehran where members met parliament speaker Ali Larijani and his brother, Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of the judiciary's high council on human rights; human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh; and filmmaker Jafar Panahi.

Career at UNCTAD, 2017–present[edit]

In June 2017, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in consultation with Mukhisa Kituyi, decided to appoint Durant as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Durant succeeded Joakim Reiter.[7] On 16 February 2021, Durant replaced Mukhisa Kituyi at the head of the organisation, becoming acting Secretary-General until June 2021.

Other activities[edit]



  1. ^ "Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development | United Nations Secretary-General".
  2. ^ "Isabelle Durant takes over as acting head of UNCTAD". UNCTAD. 16 February 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  3. ^ Els Samyn (December 14, 2011), Eco-friendly federalist European Voice.
  4. ^ John Carreyrou (January 10, 2000), Controversy Flies Over Brussels And Green Party's Noise Plan Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Tim King (March 30, 2016), Why Belgian politicians haven’t lost their jobs Politico Europe.
  6. ^ "Belgische Senaat" (in Dutch). Belgian Senate. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  7. ^ a b Secretary-General Appoints Isabelle Durant of Belgium as Deputy Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development United Nations, press release of 9 June 2017.
  8. ^ On the fast track European Voice, September 26, 2012.
  9. ^ Eric Lipton and Danny Hakim (October 18, 2013), Lobbying Bonanza as Firms Try to Influence European Union New York Times.
  10. ^ Friends of Europe appoints 29 new members to its Board of Trustees Friends of Europe, press release of June 25, 2020.

External links[edit]