Kaag in 2018
|Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation|
Assumed office |
26 October 2017
|Prime Minister||Mark Rutte|
|Preceded by||Lilianne Ploumen|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
13 February 2018 – 7 March 2018
|Prime Minister||Mark Rutte|
|Preceded by||Halbe Zijlstra|
|Succeeded by||Stef Blok|
|United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon|
17 January 2015 – 25 October 2017
|Preceded by||Derek Plumbly|
|Head of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria|
16 October 2013 – 30 September 2014
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
Sigrid Agnes Maria Kaag|
2 November 1961
|Political party||Democrats 66|
American University in Cairo (B.A.)
St Antony's College, Oxford (M.Phil)
University of Exeter (M.A.)
Sigrid Agnes Maria Kaag (born 2 November 1961) is a Dutch diplomat and politician serving as Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Third Rutte cabinet as of 26 October 2017 on behalf of the liberal Democrats 66 party.
Previously she was working for the United Nations. From January 2015 until October 2017 she served as the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). Prior to that she served as Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator of the United Nations – Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (UN-OPCW) Joint Mission to eliminate the declared chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic between October 2013 and September 2014. Until her mission in Syria she was employed as Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy of the United Nations Development Programme.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Honours and awards
- 4 Other activities
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
Early life and education
Kaag was born in 1961, in Rijswijk, as the daughter of a classical pianist. She grew up in Zeist and initially studied Arabic Linguistics and Philology at the Leiden University, but switched her study to The American University in Cairo where she obtained a B.A. degree in Middle East Studies in 1985. She subsequently earned an M.Phil. degree in International Relations from St Antony's College, University of Oxford in 1987, and an M.A. degree in Politics and Economics of the Middle East from the University of Exeter in 1988. She also received foreign relations training at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, and studied at the French École nationale d'administration (ENA).
After her studies Kaag worked as analyst for Royal Dutch Shell in London, United Kingdom. Later she worked for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Deputy Head of the UN Political Affairs Department. During her time in the diplomatic service, she lived in worked in Beirut, Vienna and Khartoum.
Career at the United Nations
Kaag started working for the United Nations in 1994 and first served as Senior United Nations Adviser in the Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Khartoum, Sudan. From 1998 to 2004 she was Chief of Donor Relations for the International Organization for Migration, and Senior Programme Manager with the External Relations Office of UNRWA in Jerusalem. Working in the Middle East she was responsible for areas as the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.
From 2007 to May 2010, Kaag was Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa for UNICEF in Amman. In May 2010 she was appointed Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy of the United Nations Development Programme in New York. In this capacity, she was the deputy to Helen Clark and oversaw UNDP’s strategic external engagement, organization-wide communication and advocacy as well as resource mobilization.
Special Coordinator of OPCW-UN Mission to Lebanon, 2013–2014
Between October 2013 and September 2014, Kaag was head of the joint Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations mission for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.
On 13 October 2013 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon nominated her to lead the joint Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations mission for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. The United Nations Security Council was set to vote on her nomination three days after her nomination, on 16 October. She was then officially confirmed for the position. Kaag led a team of hundred experts who were responsible for ensuring the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons programme before 30 June 2014.
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, 2014–2017
By the end of her term, news media reported that Kaag was rumored to succeed Lakhdar Brahimi as UN Special Envoy to Syria. On 1 December 2014, the UN Secretary General Ban announced that Kaag would become the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), succeeding Sir Derek Plumbly.
In early 2017, Kaag was considered by international media to be one of the candidates to succeed Helen Clark as Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and head of the United Nations Development Group; the post eventually went to Achim Steiner.
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, 2017–present
Since 26 October 2017, Kaag has been serving as Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the third government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. After the resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister Halbe Zijlstra (VVD) on 13 February 2018, she was nominated ad interim to succeed him while conserving her other cabinet position. Prime Minister Rutte stated she would stay in office for about two weeks.
Honours and awards
- 2015 – Honorary LL.D. degree from the University of Exeter
- 2016 – Wateler Peace Prize awarded by the Carnegie Foundation
- Generation Unlimited, Member of the Board (since 2018)
- Asian Development Bank (ADB), Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors (since 2017)
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Ex-Officio Alternate Member of the Board of Governors (since 2017)
- Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors (since 2017)
- Joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee, Alternate Member
- Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Bank Group, Ex-Officio Alternate Member of the Board of Governors (since 2017)
- World Bank, Ex-Officio Alternate Member of the Board of Governors (since 2017)
- Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC), Member (2017)
Kaag is married with four children. Her husband, Anis al-Qaq, is Palestinian, a deputy minister under Yasser Arafat in the 1990s, and used to be the Palestinian representative to Switzerland. She speaks six languages: Dutch, English, French, Spanish, German and Arabic. She has been the first Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General featured in the Vogue fashion and lifestyle magazine.
- Theo Koelé (13 January 2014). "'In licht van de tragedie is dit bescheiden missie'" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "Ms. Sigrid Kaag". UNSCOL. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
- Janine Di Giovanni (June 5, 2014), Poison Control in Syria Newsweek.
- Sigrid Kaag over vluchtelingen en buitenlandbeleid: 'Het probleem is dat politici alleen uit zijn op korte-termijnsuccessen' - website of Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland
- Curriculum Vitae Sigrid Kaag - website of the Government of the Netherlands
- International Women's Day: Sigrid Kaag - website of the University of Exeter
- Opening Address of Sigrid Kaag at the 70th LBB - website of Clingendael Institute
- "Sigrid A. M. Kaag". UNDP. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- Dutch woman Sigrid Kaag tasked with eradicating Syria's chemical weapons The Australian, October 17, 2013.
- "Secretary-General appoints Sigrid Kaag of Netherlands Director of Partnerships Bureau, United Nations Development Proggramme". United Nations. 3 May 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "U.N. names envoy to lead Syria chemical weapons mission". Al Arabiya. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Sigrid Kaag to Lead Syria Chemical Weapons Mission". Time World. 16 October 2013. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- "Wat we tot nu toe weten van Sigrid Kaag, Nederlandse leider VN-missie in Syrië" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- French environment minister candidate for top UN aid job Radio France Internationale, March 24, 2017.
- Honorary graduates 2014-15 University of Exeter.
- "Belangrijke vredesprijs voor Nederlandse VN-diplomate Sigrid Kaag" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
- World leaders unite under new initiative to provide quality education and training for young people Generation Unlimited, press release of 21 September 2018.
- Board of Governors Asian Development Bank (ADB).
- Board of Governors European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
- Board of Governors Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC).
- Members Joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee.
- Board of Governors Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Bank Group.
- Board of Governors World Bank.
- Commissioners Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC).
- Scarlett Haddad. "La Journée de la femme chez Sigrid Kaag : pousser les Libanaises vers la politique". L'Orient le Jour. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
- Holland’s new deputy foreign minister called Netanyahu a racist demagogue
- Vogue (November 2016). "Vogue". Vogue. Retrieved 15 November 2016.