Our Team in Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau

Dr Kim Eva Dickson

Dr. Kim Eva Dickson

Head of WHO Country Office and Representative of Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau
Dr. Kim Eva Dickson is a Public Health Physician with almost 30 years’ international experience serving in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. She has the unique experience of working for three UN Agencies – UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO.

Dr. Dickson started off her career as a medical doctor in Ghana. After completing her post graduate studies in the United Kingdom, she moved to South Africa and was instrumental in establishing the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit (then RHRU) as a WHO Collaborating Center and an African center of excellence in SRH and HIV research. She also worked with as HIV/AIDS Adviser with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria before moving to WHO, Geneva as Medical Officer, Women and Youth in 2006. Working in the WHO, Dr. Dickson worked to develop HIV prevention options for women and to scale up male circumcision as a HIV prevention method.

In 2012, Dr Dickson moved to UNICEF, New York as Senior Adviser Maternal and Newborn Health where she spearheaded the development of the first ever global newborn action plan. She helped to establish UNICEF as a global leader in newborn health before moving in 2016, on secondment to UNFPA, Sierra Leone as the Country Representative. When her secondment to UNFPA ended in 2021 she returned to UNICEF, New York.

Dr. Dickson returns to WHO in January 2022 as the Head of WHO Country Office and Representative of Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.
Iori Kato, UNFPA

Iori Kato

Director and Representative
Mr. Iori KATO is the Director & Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific Island Countries, a position he assumed in August 2022. Mr. KATO has spent the last 20 years in UNDP, IOM and UNFPA.
Mr. Kato was previously UNFPA's Representative for the Philippines from 2018-2020, until he was seconded to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Headquarters in Geneva as Senior Regional Advisor to the Director-General for Asia and the Pacific. Prior to functioning as Representative for the Philippines, Iori was Deputy Representative in Bangladesh from 2014-2018 where he also served as Representative a.i. and spearheaded the start-up and scale-up of UNFPA’s humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Prior to working for UNFPA, Mr. Kato worked as UN Regional Coordination Specialist at the UNDG Asia-Pacific Secretariat in Bangkok from 2012 to 2014. Iori also worked for UNDP from 2002 to 2012 in various capacities, including as Assistant Resident Representative in Lao PDR and Special Assistant to Regional Director for Asia-Pacific among other positions. Prior to joining the UN system, Iori worked as a newspaper writer and editor in his home country Japan.
Mr. Kato holds a master’s degree of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York, and a Bachelor’s degree from International Christian University, Tokyo
Themba Kalua

Themba Kalua

Resident Coordinator
Mr. Kalua brings more than 20 years of experience in sustainable development, development coordination, strategic planning, environment and climate change, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and humanitarian action.
Prior to his appointment as the UN Resident Coordinator in Samoa, he served as the UN Women Country Representative in Papua New Guinea, where he led efforts to address high levels of gender-based violence, promote women’s political participation and economic empowerment, and established and chaired the donor coordination mechanism for gender equality and women’s empowerment. He also chaired the inter-agency core design team that led the drafting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Papua New Guinea.
During the 2022 national general elections in Papua New Guinea, Mr. Kalua served as the UN Resident Coordinator ad interim, successfully leading the UN's coordinated engagement with the newly elected government.
Before moving to Papua New Guinea, Mr. Kalua was the Senior Development Coordination Officer at the UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) Regional Office for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In this role, he supported the delivery of the United Nations development system reform in Africa and provided policy and advisory services to UN Resident Coordinators in 54 African countries, contributing to the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, Agenda 2063 of the African Union, and Sustainable Development Goals.
Between 2013 and 2019, Mr. Kalua held various senior positions at UN Women. These included Deputy Representative in the South Africa Multi-Country Office and liaison to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Head of Programmes, Strategic Planning and Coordination Specialist for East and Southern Africa based at the regional office in Kenya, and UN System Coordination Advisor at UN Women headquarters in New York.
Before joining UN Women, Mr. Kalua worked with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Food Programme (WFP) on various sustainable development issues at country, regional and headquarters levels.
Mr. Kalua holds an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, a Master’s degree in Strategic Management from the University of Derby in the United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the University of Malawi.
Ms Xiangjun Yao

Xiangjun Yao

FAO Sub Regional Coordinator for the Pacific
Ms Xiangjun Yao (China) assumed her role as the FAO Sub Regional Coordinator for the Pacific in 2020. She oversees FAO’s work in providing policy advisory and technical assistance to its 14 Member Countries to improve food security, income-earning opportunities in agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and increasing resilience of small farmers and producers in the Pacific. She joined FAO Headquarters in June 2011 and has held leading roles in several technical divisions/offices within FAO.

Ms Yao began her career at the Institute of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Engineering in 1983, and as Director from 1998 to 2004. She served as Deputy Director-General of the Centre of International Cooperation Service, Ministry of Agriculture, China. She was also a Council Member of the China Energy Research Society and Evaluation Expert for Engineering Construction Projects authorized by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.
Andie Fong Toy

Andy Fong Toy

Head, ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific
Ms. Andie Fong Toy was appointed Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific in Suva, Fiji, effective 1 August 2022.
Ms. Fong Toy brings over thirty years of experience in the Pacific. She previously served as Legal and Political Advisor, International Legal Advisor and Director, Political and Security Programme at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat before being appointed as its Deputy Secretary-General. In this capacity, she oversaw political and security, economic governance, and trade policy issues, including economic integration and reform in the Pacific.
In her more recent capacity as Labour Mobility Advisor for the Australian Pacific Training Coalition, Ms. Fong Toy provided strategic advice to countries of the Pacific on ways to optimize labour mobility and produce the best employment outcomes.
Ms. Fong Toy holds a master’s degree in international relations from Deakin University and a bachelor’s degree in law from Victoria University of Wellington.

Photo of a woman sitting at her office desk

Delphine Serumaga

UN Women Multi-Country Office Representative
She was formerly the Country Representative in Zimbabwe and comes with years of experience and background in the areas of development management, gender justice and women’s rights.
Ms Serumaga has a BA in political science and MSc in Development Management and her expertise and experience are focused on development and underdevelopment in relation to global social, political and economic issues with a specific focus on women’s rights and gender equality. Her advocacy and lobbying experience span national and international levels from the Office of the President (South Africa: Thabo Mbeki era) to the regional level at the African Commission on Human and People’s rights and the African Union (Department of Political Affairs) and regional platforms such as the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Commission (SADC) to the international level; United Nations on women’s rights and development. Ms. Serumaga has over 30 years’ experience in managing teams, organizations and campaigns including as the Executive Director of three critical organizations in Africa People Opposing Women Abuse South Africa (POWA) -2003-2009; Akina Mama wa Afrika Regional based in Uganda - 2011 and The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) Regional based in South Africa - 2011-2015.
Ms. Heike Alefsen

Heike Alefsen

Regional Representative for the Pacific
Heike Alefsen has almost 30 years of human rights, legal, political and development work experience with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and civil society. Until 2020, she was Senior Human Rights Adviser to the UN Country Team in Bangladesh and to the UN Development Group Asia-Pacific in Bangkok. As Deputy Head of the OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia, she established a country programme for Myanmar and coordinated policy and information of the Human Rights Council’s special procedures at OHCHR Geneva.
She also served with the UN Division for the Advancement of Women and the UN Development Fund for Women in New York, as Council of Europe Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and with Amnesty International’s Legal Office in London.
Henry Taiki

Henry Taiki

Mr Taiki ( Vanuatu) is WMO Representative for the South-West Pacific since 1999. He oversees and coordinates the work of the WMO with 17 Pacific countries and territories, including to build capacities of their National Meteorological Services, National Hydro-meteorological Services, and National Hydrological Services. He works very closely with SPREP for the development of weather, climate and water to support and contribute to sustainable development in line with the overall strategic direction of the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy 2017-2023.
Mr Jinhua Zhang

Jinhua Zhang

Senior Coordination Officer
Mr. Jinhua Zhang assumed the position of Senior Coordination Officer, UNEP Pacific Office as of 1 January 2024.

Mr. Jinhua Zhang, a national of China, has extensive experience in UNEP particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where he has worked for the last 19 years. Prior to this role, Mr. Zhang was Regional Sub-programme Coordinator, responsible for the implementation and delivery of the UNEP Science-Policy foundational programme in Asia and the Pacific. With an educational background in land resources inventory and quantitative land evaluation, Mr. Zhang has been working on integrated environmental assessment, environmental indicators, data and information management, and building partnership.

With this new role, Mr. Zhang is based in UNEP Pacific Office in Apia, Samoa to coordinate UNEP work in the Pacific region, covering Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu & Vanuatu.
Jonathan VEitch

Jonathan Veitch

Mr Jonathan Veitch, a citizen of the United Kingdom, was appointed to the position of UNICEF Pacific Representative in August 2021 and is based in Suva, Fiji. As the UNICEF Pacific Representative, he oversees UNICEF’s programmes and operations in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Prior to this current appointment, Mr Veitch was the Deputy Director of the Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division at UNICEF, based in Geneva, responsible for the relationship with UNICEF’s 33 National Committees. He brings with him extensive experience working on children’s issues at the country and global level, especially in dealing with complex emergencies, peacebuilding and maternal and child health.
Matin Karimli

Matin Karimli

As Director for Pacific Island Countries, based in Suva, Fiji, Matin is responsible for supporting eleven ILO member States (Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, Tonga, and Cook Islands). In addition, the Office also provides technical support to non-member Pacific Island States. Originally from the Republic of Azerbaijan, Matin was the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection for 6 years prior to joining the office in Fiji.
Director ILO
Mr. Andrew Mcelroy