Photo: World Bank/Dominic Chavez

Development Coordination Office

Global Coordination

The United Nations Development Coordination Office (DCO) serves as the secretariat for the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG)–34 agencies, funds and programmes working on development–at the regional and global levels.  

At the regional level, five UN Development Coordination Office Regional Directors and their teams in Panama, Addis Ababa, Amman, Istanbul and Bangkok provide Resident Coordinators with regional-specific support, with a secretariat role for the UN Sustainable Development Group. 

At the global level the UN SDG is chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General. The Vice-Chair is the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator.

  • The Resident Coordinator system: coordinated and managed by the Development Coordination Office, a UN Secretariat entity as of 1 January 2019.
    • DCO provides substantive guidance and support to resident coordinators and United Nations country teams, in addition to daily backstopping to resident coordinator offices on the ground.
    • DCO also provides troubleshooting, quality assurance and dispute resolution services in close cooperation with the relevant regional teams of the UN Sustainable Development Group.
  • DCO and the UNSDG - DCO provides managerial and oversight functions for resident coordinators. Its activities are advanced through collective ownership by the UNSDG. The Office acts as a key conduit for supporting the UN’s activities for sustainable development, which inform policy, programme and operations on the ground. 

Development Coordination Office Leadership

The official photo of Robert Piper shows him smiling in front of the UN flag.

Robert Piper

Assistant Secretary-General, Development Coordination Office

Robert Piper of Australia was appointed as the Assistant Secretary-General for Development Coordination in 2018. Mr. Piper brings to the position nearly 30 years of experience in international development, humanitarian response and peacebuilding at the United Nations. Prior to this, he was the Head of the United Nations Development System Transition Team, which was established to provide strategic leadership and oversight to all aspects of the repositioning of the United Nations development system. Before that, he was Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of External Relations at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Mr. Piper joined the United Nations in 1990 at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Bangkok.  Since then, he has served the Organization in various capacities, including as Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, from 2015 to 2018; United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, from 2013 to 2015; United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Nepal, from 2008 to 2013; and for Kosovo between 2002 and 2004.  He has held a number of other key positions with UNDP at Headquarters and in the field, including as inaugural Director for the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund and as Deputy Director for Emergency Response.

Mr. Piper holds an honours degree in political science from the Australian National University and a certificate in French language and literature from the Sorbonne University.  He was selected in 1994 as a World Fellow at Yale University.

Official Portrait of Giovanie Biha shows her smiling against a solid background.

Giovanie Biha

Deputy Director, Development Coordination Office

Giovanie Biha was appointed Deputy Director of the Development Coordination Office (DCO) in 2019. Before joining DCO she served as Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (2015 - 2019). Ms. Biha brings to this role more than 25 years of experience in international development, including in strategic operations management and programme coordination; she has earlier worked with UNDP in the field and headquarters at senior level in diverse areas of programme, operations and policy development.  She also brings to this position a strong record of institutional development and UN reform. Ms. Biha worked with UN Women at its inception stage as the Director of Management. In her home country of Burundi, she has worked with the Central Bank and the private banking sector as Director of operations.