Nitin Desai elected new chair of Oxfam International

Published: 9th October 2012

Nitin Desai, a widely respected economist and international leader on sustainable development, has been elected chair of the Board of Trustees of Oxfam International.

After obtaining degrees at universities in India and the UK, Mr Desai served as an economist and then in the India Planning Commission, before becoming a key figure at the United Nations.

In 1987 he became the Senior Economic Advisor for the World Commission on Environment and Development, the “Brundtland Commission”, including writing the seminal chapter about sustainable development in its report Our Common Future.

Nitin Desai
Nitin Desai

In 1992, he was appointed Deputy Secretary-General to the Rio Earth Summit. He subsequently organized both the Copenhagen Summit on Social Development in 1995 and the Monterrey Summit on Finance and Development in 2002.

In 2001, Kofi Annan appointed Mr. Desai Secretary-General to the World Summit on Sustainable Development – the 2002 Johannesburg Summit – which focused on the developmental and environmental aspects of water, energy, agriculture, health and bio-diversity.

Oxfam International’s current chair, Keith Johnston, said: “The board is proud and delighted that Nitin Desai has accepted this role. He is a highly capable international leader who brings a great depth of knowledge about sustainable development and experience in working in international bodies.”

Mr Desai, who is Indian, was elected for an initial three-year term, beginning March 2013. His appointment reflects Oxfam’s stature as a cohesive international confederation that is building its presence in powerfully emerging developing countries, as well as in the richer world.

The [Oxfam] board is proud and delighted that Nitin Desai has accepted this role.
Keith Johnston
Board Chair, Oxfam International

Contact information

For further enquiry contact:
Matt Grainger,