Assistant Secretary-General at the UN appointed to UNOPS Office in Finland

The UN Secretary-General has appointed Vitaly Vanshelboim, Chief Executive Director of the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), to head a new UNOPS Office in Helsinki.

Vitaly Vanshelboim
Vitaly Vanshelboim

Vanshelboim, who leads the Sustainable Infrastructure Impact Investments (S3i) initiative, is the first ever UN official at the Deputy Secretary-General level to be working in Finland. Ukrainian-born Vanshelboim has been Chief Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at UNOPS since July 2006. He joined the United Nations in 1992.

UNOPS opened the Office in Helsinki early this year and will operate the initiative from there. The S3i initiative is a programme that channels private sector investments to sustainable infrastructure projects in developing countries. It emphasises housing and renewable energy projects and plays a growing role in the financing of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The relocation of this global programme to Helsinki indicates that the UN has faith in Finland as an operating environment in which the world organization can establish its activities and which does not involve any major risks. The S3i initiative will strengthen Finland's profile in the UN as a country that leads the way in sustainable development and innovation,” says Jarmo Sareva, Ambassador for Innovation at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

So far, UNOPS has undertaken to contribute to the construction of more than 860,000 houses over the next decade in Kenya, Ghana, India, Pakistan and the Caribbean region. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of jobs are created and sustainable local business life is supported.

Together with the United Nations Technology Innovation Laboratory (UNTIL) in Otaniemi, the UNOPS Office is an important UN hub of excellence in Finland with further growth potential. In addition to the S3i initiative, Global Innovation and Technology at UNOPS, headed by Jonas Svensson from Sweden, will be operated from the UNOPS Office in Helsinki.