Natalia Snegur-Gherman (born 20 March 1969) is a Moldovan politician, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova from May 2013 to January 2016. Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Asia (UNRCCA) since 2017.
Born in Chișinău in 1969, she is the daughter of Mircea Snegur, the first President of Moldova. She studied at the Moldova State University and completed postgraduate studies at King's College London. She joined the Moldovan diplomatic service, working in several different places before eventually becoming Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the OSCE from 2002 to 2006, and Ambassador to Sweden, Norway and Finland from 2006 to 2009.
In 2009, she became Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Chief Negotiator on the Moldova–European Union Association Agreement, serving until 2013. In 2013 she became Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova, serving until January 2016. From June to July 2015, following Chiril Gaburici's resignation, she served as the acting Prime Minister of Moldova.
Early life and education
Gherman was born in 1969 in Chișinău, then part of the Soviet Union but now part of independent Moldova. She is the daughter of Mircea Snegur, who served as the first President of Moldova from 1991 to 1997, and Georgeta Snegur. For her undergraduate education, she received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the Moldova State University. In 1999, she completed a Master of Arts (MA) postgraduate degree in war studies at King's College London.
She began working in the Moldovan diplomatic service in 1991, as the Second and then First Secretary at the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1994 to 1997, she served as Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Vienna and the OSCE. From 1997 to 2001, she was Deputy Head of the Department of European Security and Political-Military Affairs at the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2001 to 2002, she was a Minister-Counsellor at the Moldovan Embassy in Brussels, as well as Deputy Head of the Mission of Moldova to NATO.
In 2002, she became the Moldovan Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the OSCE and the UN Agencies in Vienna. In this role, she was a "prominent contributor to the efforts of the [OSCE] in identifying solutions to the unresolved conflicts in the OSCE area" and also mobilized "the potential of the OSCE community towards the settlement of the Transnistria conflict in the Republic of Moldova." In 2006, she left Brussels for Stockholm, becoming the Moldovan Ambassador to Sweden, Norway and Finland. For her "merits in promoting relations between Sweden and Moldova", Gherman was awarded the Order of the Polar Star at the rank of Commander 1st Class. She left this role in 2009, upon her appointment as a Deputy Minister.
On 29 June 2009, she was appointed as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, to then-Minister Andrei Stratan. In November 2009, she was appointed as the Chief Negotiator in the talks with the European Union over the Moldova–European Union Association Agreement. She also assisted in the talks that led to the liberalization of the visa requirements for Moldovans travelling to the EU. As Deputy Prime Minister, Iurie Roșca supported Gherman. In a conversation with the US Ambassador, that was later revealed in a US diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks, the conversation was described: "Rosca expressed his hope that Foreign Minister Andrei Stratan, whom he described as a friend, would not continue in the job, and said that he was trying to help Natalia Gherman, daughter of Moldova's first President Mircea Snegur, to get the job."
On 30 May 2013, she was appointed as the full Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, whilst concurrently being appointed to the role of Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova. She was also responsible for chairing the National Committee for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. In this role, she participated in the Global Forum on Migration and Development and contributed to the 'High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development'. In 2014, The Guardian chose her as one of "Seven women to watch in global politics who are leading change all over the world." They claimed that "she could well be a future prime minister or president." Also in 2014, she was awarded Moldova's highest national honour, the Order of the Republic.
In the November 2014 election, Gherman was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP), and became a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy and European Integration. Following Chiril Gaburici's resignation as Prime Minister of Moldova on 22 June 2015, Gherman took over in an interim capacity. She served until 30 July 2015, when Valeriu Streleț became Prime Minister, and she resumed her previous roles in the Streleț Cabinet. On 20 January 2016, she was succeeded in the roles of Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and Deputy Prime Minister by Andrei Galbur.
United Nations Secretary-General selection
On 18 February 2016, Gherman was officially nominated by Vlad Lupan, the Moldovan Permanent Representative to the UN, as the Moldovan candidate for Secretary-General of the United Nations in the 2016 selection process. On 19 February, this nomination was made public by the President of the General Assembly. It has been argued that "The long-running friction between Moldova and Russia over the breakaway region of Transnistria could mean she is blocked by Moscow."
Gherman took part in an informal dialogue at the United Nations General Assembly on 13 April 2016, where she claimed the "United Nations has never been so necessary." In total, she spoke for over two hours, in what the campaign group 1 for 7 Billion called a "historic breakthrough and the additional transparency and scrutiny that comes with it." As part of her campaign to become Secretary-General, she has spoken at events or in interviews at the International Peace Institute, Royal United Services Institute, Kennan Institute, London School of Economics and King's College London. As a candidate, she is also supported by the Campaign to Elect a Woman UN Secretary-General.
On the topic of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers, Gherman was asked multiple times about this problem during the United Nations informal dialogues. She stated that the report given by the panel that oversees peacekeeping should be closely reviewed and analyzed. She also stated that member states need to ensure the immediate persecution of peacekeepers who commit such crimes, as their actions tarnish the UN's image. As for the victims of peacekeepers' abuse, Gherman believes we should work together to ensure that victims overcome this horrible experience and begin living a normal live. She was also questioned about peacekeeper SEA at an International Peace Institute dialogue. Gherman said that their actions were "deplorable and unacceptable" for it "undermines the trust of the people being helped in the organization and the trust of member states." She also said that member states needed to ensure that troops are well trained and held responsible in the case of abuse.
- Order of the Republic (2014)
- Commander 1st Class of the Order of the Polar Star (2010, Sweden)
- Jubilee Medal "25 Years of Neutrality of Turkmenistan" (2020, Turkmenistan)
- "Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Central Asia". 12 October 2017.
- "Moldova Secretary-General Election" (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Международным форумом отметили в Туркменистане 10-летний юбилей РЦПДЦА
- Наталья Герман возглавит Региональный центр превентивной дипломатии в Центральной Азии
- Vlas, Cristi (20 February 2016). "Natalia Gherman, proposed as candidate Secretary General of the United Nations". Moldova.org. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Chaudhry, Asif J. (24 July 2009). "Requesting a coup d'etat". WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks cable: 09CHISINAU576_a. Retrieved 12 June 2016. Cite journal requires
- Clark, Helen (7 March 2014). "Seven women to watch in global politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Borger, Julian (30 March 2016). "Who will succeed Ban Ki-moon? A guide to the possible candidates". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Natalia Gherman - live commentary from the General Assembly hearing". 1 For 7 Billion. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- Dickerson, Daniel (13 April 2016). ""Effective" UN never "so necessary" says UN chief candidate, Natalia Gherman". United Nations Radio. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "The Secretary-General Candidates at IPI: Natalia Gherman of Moldova". International Peace Institute. 16 April 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "The Principles of the UN: Solidarity in a Multipolar Age". Royal United Services Institute. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "A Changing World - A UN in Progress". London School of Economics. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "A Stronger UN for a Peaceful World - Conversation with Ambassador Natalia Gherman". Kennan Institute. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Natalia Gherman: A Strong United Nations for a Peaceful Sustainable World". Kings College London. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Eastern Europe Group". Campaign to Elect a Woman UN Secretary-General. Archived from the original on 9 July 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Natalia Gherman (Moldova) - Informal dialogue for the position of the next UN Secretary-General". Webtv.un.org. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- Palestini, Stefano (16 April 2016). "The Secretary-General Candidates at IPI: Natalia Gherman of Moldova | International Peace Institute". Ipinst.org. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- Президент Николае Тимофти наградил государственными наградами группу депутатов, членов правительства и высокопоставленных государственных служащих
- Viceministrului Afacerilor Externe şi Integrării Europene, dnei Natalia Gherman, i-a fost conferit Ordinul Regal Steaua Polară
- turkmenportal. "Бердымухамедов наградил иностранных граждан юбилейной медалью «25 лет Нейтралитета Туркменистана» | Политика". Туркменистан, интернет портал о культурной, деловой и развлекательной жизни в Туркменистане (in Russian). Retrieved 2021-05-30.