Our Team in Micronesia

Jaap van Hierden

Jaap van Hierden

Resident Coordinator Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Kiribati
Mr. van Hierden is the first UN Resident Coordinator (RC) for the North Pacific covering five Micronesian Countries. Among regular RC duties, Mr. van Hierden has been appointed to establish the new UN MCO Micronesia in order to enhance UN’s presence in the Micronesia region.

Mr. van Hierden has over 30 years of experience in international development, humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding. He has been deployed to countries in conflict and those rising from Least Developed to Upper Middle-Income status. He has also taken on corporate level responsibilities in New York and in Copenhagen, regional level responsibilities in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, and country level responsibilities in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and the Philippines. Mr. van Hierden graduated from Wageningen University in 1990 as Agricultural Economist.

The UN Resident Coordinator (RC) leads a UNCT to ensure the coordination, harmonization, and simplification of their support to achieve national development goals. Under the leadership of the RC, the UNCT consults with the governments to define and agree on the UN strategic responses to country development priorities.

Alpha Bah

Country director
Alpha Bah is WFP’s Country Director for the Pacific Multi-Country Office based in Suva, Fiji. In the Pacific, WFP works towards improving the capacity of Pacific Island Countries and Territories to reduce risk of, prepare for, and respond to disasters with a view of building a more resilient Pacific Community. Since joining WFP in 2000, he has been stationed in several countries including North Korea, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Italy, Senegal, Kenya, UAE, and Bangladesh, responding to and supporting several high-profile emergency missions around the world.

Prior to joining WFP, Alpha worked for UNDP and for the private sector as a network engineer. Prior to his assignment in the Pacific, Alpha was the Deputy Country Director for WFP in Bangladesh with overall responsibility for operations and support services for WFP’s development and humanitarian assistance programs. He had also previously served as WFP’s Chief of IT Emergency Preparedness and Response, responsible for managing WFP’s IT emergency team and leadership of the global Emergency Telecommunication Cluster (ETC).
Andy Fong Toy

Andie Fong Toy

Head, ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific
Ms. Andie Fong Toy was appointed Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific, 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.
Delphine Serumaga

Delphine Serumaga

UN Women
Deputy 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.
Dr Mark Jacobs

Dr Mark Jacobs

WHO Representative/Director, Pacific Technical Support
Dr Mark Jacobs is the Director of Pacific Technical Support and WHO Representative to the South Pacific. He was appointed in this position in August 2021. Prior to this, he has held a series of senior public health leadership roles.

Heike Alefsen

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.
Lori Kato

Iori Kato

Director and Representative United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific
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.
Javee Santos

Jayvee Santos

Regional Coordinator for the Pacific for ASYCUDA
Jayvee is the Regional Coordinator for the Pacific for ASYCUDA, the largest UNCTAD technical cooperation programme. He has 20+ years experience in customs automation and modernization working in 20 country projects in Asia-Pacific. Jayvee’s office currently supports 12 Pacific countries and territory.
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.

A national of China, Mr Zhang has extensive experience in UNEP particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where he has worked for the last 19 years. Prior to this role, he 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 partnerships.

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, and 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 Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Kevin Petrini

Kevin Petrini

Deputy Resident Representative for the North Pacific
Mr. Kevin Petrini has been working and living in the Pacific Islands for over 22 years, with 10 years living in the country of Samoa in Polynesia, and 10 years living in the country of Fiji in Melanesia and in October 2021, moved to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in the Micronesia sub-region. As such, he has worked and lived in all the three major sub-regions of the Pacific and is an expert in Pacific affairs and climate action.

Further, he has been on the frontlines of climate action in the Pacific for over 15 years bringing and accessing and implementing hundreds of millions of dollars in grants in the Pacific, leading climate policy development and supporting Pacific countries as they negotiate international climate agreements.

Most recently, Mr. Petrini was appointed as the Deputy Resident Representative and Country Manager for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) North Pacific office based in the state of Pohnpei where he leads the UNDP work across five countries: FSM, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Nauru.

Mr. Petrini started his career in international development as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer teaching science and math in a rural village in Samoa from 1998 – 2000. He holds a Master’s degree in Science (Chemical Engineering) from the University of Colorado, Boulder where he studied atmospheric chemistry and a Bachelor of Science (Chemical Engineering) from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Mr Petrini is a citizen of the United States and Samoa and is married with three children.

Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/KevinPetrini

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-petrini-62933b25
Marie-Laure Pegie Cauchois

Marie-Laure Pegie Cauchois

Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor
Ms. Marie Pegie Cauchois has worked for the UN since 2012, first in UN Peace Keeping operations in South Sudan, Afghanistan, Central African Republic and Somalia, she then joined UNODC in 2017 and worked in Myanmar as Anti-Corruption Programme manager. She is now Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser and manages the Anti-Corruption Project in 14 Pacific Island countries.

Salvatore Sortino

Chief of Mission to IOM Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau.
Salvatore Sortino is the Chief of Mission for IOM in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau. He represents IOM at the UN Country Team for the Micronesia Multi Country Office. He has worked with IOM since 2009, covering Chief of Mission roles in Liberia and Angola, and as Senior Emergency and Post Crisis Specialists in the East and Horn of Africa. Before joining IOM he worked for INGOs in South Sudan, Sudan and Algeria.


Pacific Small Islands Developing State Advisor
Tokumitsu Kobayashi is the Pacific SIDS Advisor who represents UNOPS to the Pacific. His most recent assignment was as the Director of the UNOPS Jerusalem Office. Before that, he worked with the Government of Japan, UNDP and JICA in several countries including Kenya, Thailand, Iraq and South Sudan. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations and a BSc in Engineering.
Vanessa Vudikaria

Vanessa Vudikaria

UNV Pacific Field Unit Multi-Country Coordinator
Vanessa joined the UN Volunteers Pacific Field Unit based in Suva as Multi-Country Coordinator in March 2022. The Field Unit is responsible for the mobilization and placement of UN Volunteers in UN Agencies, Funds, and Programmes focused on peace, development, and humanitarian needs, covering 14 Pacific countries under Micronesia, Fiji and Samoa MCOs. Prior to joining UNV, Vanessa worked for the Embassy of Japan in Fiji’s Development Cooperation division and UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) programme. She has a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Waseda University in Tokyo.
Xiangjun Yao

Xiangjun Yao

FAO Representative and Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands
Ms Xiangjun Yao 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.