Margareta Wahlström during the Fiacolatta walk in remembrance of the Battle of Solferino. The birthplace of the idea that led to the establishment of the Red Cross/Red Crescent. Photo: Hala Mohammed/Swedish Red Cross
Margareta Wahlström has more than 35 years of extensive experience in both disaster relief operations and disaster risk management, in development and political work with the United Nations system, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the private sector.
She came across the Red Cross while working in Southeast Asia in the early 80’s and she was very impressed by the work in Kambodja. She joined the Swedish Red Cross in 1987 as a Desk Officer for Southern Africa. In this capacity she worked for some time also in the then newly started Swedish Red Cross Orthopedic Workshop for war wounded in Luanda, Angola. In 1989, she joined the IFRC in Geneva, and she served in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as Desk Officer for Southern Africa 1989–1991, Deputy Director of Operations 1991–1994 and finally as Under Secretary – General, 1995–2000. In total she served 15 years for the Swedish Red Cross and the Federation.
More than thirty-five years of national and international experience, living and working in different environments; 10 years in increasingly senior management positions at the international Secretariat of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva Switzerland.
From 2000 – 2002: working with OCHA and WHO, as well as the IFRC and Swedish Red Cross in an independent consultant capacity mainly on organisational strategies and management issues. From 2002 – 2004: in Afghanistan with the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan as Chief of Staff and subsequently Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General. From 2004 – to date: Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations, at Assistant Secretary-General level. 2008 – 2015 Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. In this role, lead and guided the multi stakeholder and intergovernmental process to develop and negotiate the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030.
Below, a few positions from the career. Full curriculum vitae here.
Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
Special Representative of the Secretary General, Head of the UNISDR.
WHO & OCHA
Leading the lesson learnt study of the OCHA deployment in East Timor crisis 1999.
IFRC: Under Secretary General Disaster Response and Operations coordination division
Providing operational and strategic direction and leadership, resource mobilisation and policy direction for 8 departments with about 100 staff in Geneva and a field organisation of about 350 international staff and 2000 national staff.
With more than 35 years in the humanitarian field Margareta Wahlström is one of the most credible experts. Her impressive experience provides the basis for a long range of articles on different topics within the area. Among them disaster risk reduction, resilience, gender, climate, sustainability and not at least the Hyogo Framework for Action. Here you find some examples:
Sustainability begins in Sendai – The Japan Times, Mar 14, 2015
How can the world prepare for natural disasters – World Economic Forum blog, Mar 12, 2015
Sustainability begins in Sendai – Huffington Post, Mar 12, 2015
A Call from Manila – Huffington Post, Feb 24,2015
Japan and HFA2 – The Asahi Shimbun, Febr 12, 2015
The Year of Resilience - Project Syndicate, Jan 16, 2015
The Pope and Tacloban – Huffington Post, Jan 14, 2015
20 years after Kobe, world rethinks disaster risk – Alert Net/ Reuters, Jan 2013
Safer Climate Disasters - Project Syndicate, Jun 13, 2014
Disaster Proof Development - Project Syndicate, Nov 1, 2013
Women, Girls and Disasters - Project Syndicate, Oct 10, 2012
Japan's Resilience Lessons - Project Syndicate, Mar 12, 2012
Visit Margareta Wahlströms campaign site: withmargareta.org