Since June 2010
Independent development economist, advisor and publicist, based in Munich
Writing, teaching and advocacy work on a range of development issues. Research and advisory work on South Asia and Southeast Asia, the 2030 sustainable development agenda, and the politics of social policy. Advisory work on municipal development partnerships with the International Department of the City of Munich.
- Development and Welfare Policy in South Asia, co-edited with Deepta Chopra, was published. 2014 (Routledge).
- Poverty and the MDGs – a critical look forward, co-edited with Alberto Cimadamore and Thomas Pogge. 2016. ZED.
since 2013: Senior Research Associate at UNRISD
and prior to that Visiting Fellow, UNRISD. Looking at the role of the state, the concept of rights-based developmental welfare states, and the future development agenda.
since September 2010
Honorary Associate, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex
During the visiting fellowship, undertook research on the history of social and economic policy and social protection in South Asia, contributed to IDS research, and worked with the IDS Centre of Social Protection (CSP). Gave lectures and advised graduate students on their research interests (see http://www.ids.ac.uk/go/idsperson/gabriele-k-hler).
Chief, Communications, Information, Outreach, Office of the Secretary General, UNCTAD, Geneva
In charge of UNCTAD’s official outreach to governments, civil society, the media and academia. Developed a prioritisation strategy and new approach to advocacy and outreach with UNCTAD staff and member states. Headed and coordinated the preparations for the UNCTAD Civil Society Symposium 2010 on New Development Paths.
2005 – 2009
Regional Advisor on Social Policy: UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) Kathmandu
Conceptual work and research, capacity building and advocacy on economic and social policy. Analysing national development strategies – Five Year Plans and annual fiscal budgets, looking at MDGs , socioeconomic policies, livelihoods, the right to food and MDG 1, social protection, youth employment. Working with governments and regional intergovernmental bodies, UN agencies and the international financial institutions, bi-lateral donors, academic institutions and civil society. Created the South Asia social policy programme for UNICEF. Provided technical support to UNICEF Country Offices in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Led Unicef’s work with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Engaged with the CCAs, UNDAFs, Country Programme Documents, and MDG Initiatives in many South Asian countries. Developed a strategy to enhance social protection in Nepal – resulted in a child benefit introduced by the Nepal Government in 2009.
2004 – 2005
Special Assistant to the Acting Secretary-General, and Chief, Policy Clearance Unit, UNCTAD, Geneva
Led, coordinated and ensured macroeconomic and sector policy coherence among programmes on globalisation, international trade, investment, and debt; innovation and technology; and least developed countries and island and landlocked countries. Reviewed and advised on UNCTAD’s flagship policy publications, e.g. the Trade and Development Report, the World Investment Report, the Least Developed Countries Report, the Africa Report and the E-commerce Report. Special Assistant to the Acting Secretary-General of UNCTAD. Developed an UNCTAD approach to Corporate Social Responsibility.
2002 – 2004
United Nations Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident-Representative, UNFPA Representative in Latvia, Riga
Directed UNDP in Latvia as the country graduated to EU status: consolidated the programmes on social inclusion; good governance, public policy and judicial reform; environmental management; and youth and health. Initiated new areas of programme work, including capacity building for EU structural funds; economic development to address unemployment and regional disparities; Latvia’s (outward) development cooperation; Latvia’s foreign policy with regard to multilateralism and its UN strategy. Initiated programmes on economic development: trade and investment promotion strategy adopted by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers. Led the Latvia Human Development Report (2002/2003) on human security – awarded the UNDP Human Development Prize for Excellence in Human Development Innovations; methodology replicated in several other countries.
1998 – 2002
Economist, Division on Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development, UNCTAD, Geneva
Produced policy-oriented research and intergovernmental consultations on the development impact of foreign direct investment. Led the policy research team for the World Investment Report (WIR). – Directed the Division’s internship programme. – Initiator, lead member and lecturer in the team conceptualising and planning for the UNCTAD course on key issues on the economic agenda for policy makers.Led the research for the policy section of the UNCTAD World Investment Report 1999 on the impact of FDI on development and the case for industrial policy.
Economist, Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, UNCTAD, Geneva
Led policy analysis of commodity-dependent economies, including economic, social and institutional development, such as supply chains (incl especially food and non-food soft commodities and commodity-dependency and indebtedness for the UN General Assembly. Conceptualised and organised intergovernmental policy conferences on commodity diversification. Introduced multisectoral approaches to commodity research including on global trading channels. Prepared a comparative policy analysis of successful coffee-exporting economies in Asia (India, Indonesia and Vietnam).
June 1994 – Mar 1996
Economist, Policy Clearance Unit, Office of the Secretary-General, UNCTAD, Geneva
Analysed the policy coherence and quality of UNCTAD flagship publications and documentation for intergovernmental sessions. Developed a communications strategy for the UNCTAD Secretary General. Co-chaired the UNCTAD-wide efficiency review, requested by and reporting to the UN Secretariat (NY).
1992 – 1994
Economist, Least Developed Countries Programme, UNCTAD, Geneva
Undertook research on macroeconomic, trade, and social development issues for the UNCTAD Least Developed Countries Reports 1992 and 1993/94, and other studies. Led research on development policy, trade diversification, health and education strategies in Least Developed Countries.
1986 – 1992
Economist, Development Planning Division, ESCAP, Bangkok
Research for the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, in particular on economic performance notably in LDCs, socio-economic issues, especially poverty alleviation, and development co-operation and debt. Project manager, programme designer and lecturer for policy makers’ capacity building. Developed partnerships with the Government of Thailand and academic institutions contributing to ESCAP LDC projects in the form of expertise. Initiated press and outreach work. Managed a project on domestic savings mobilisation (Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Lao PDR) and the LDC Project Management programme (conducted in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Lao PDR, Nepal, Vanuatu). Co-authored the official Lao PDR document for the Global UN LDC Conference 1990
1983 – 1986
Associate Economist, Natural Resources Division, ESCAP, Bangkok
Assistant to the division chief and advisor to the ESCAP programmes on water resources, energy including new and renewable sources of energy, and minerals. Drafted an ESCAP Commission Note on the Law of the Sea. Editor-in-chief, ESCAP Water Resources Journal. Introduced socio-economic and gender perspectives for projects in the natural resources areas, including for the International Water and Sanitation Decade.
1980 – 1983
Journalist and educator
Journalist with the German Association of Publishers and the Booktrade; adult education specialist in public and economic policy with the Community College Network, Frankfurt.
1975 – 1979
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Wuppertal University
Undertook research and taught undergraduate students – macro and microeconomics, comparative economic systems, development studies, East European and China studies. Wrote a thesis on economic and social planning in the German Democratic Republic and published work on economic planning approaches in Eastern Europe and China.