Ms. Atsuko Okuda was appointed as the Regional Director in April 2020. Prior to the new assignment, she was the Chief of the ICT and Development Section of the ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in Bangkok, Thailand from 2015 to 2020. At ESCAP, she promoted the development of regional broadband connectivity and inclusive broadband through the implementation of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) initiative.
Before joining ESCAP, Ms. Okuda served the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Beirut as the Chief of the Governance and State building Section and as the Team Leader responsible for ESCWA Knowledge Management. Prior to it, she contributed to the Umoja project, the UN Secretariat ERP initiative, as Testing Manager at the Department of Management, UNHQ for 2 years. From 2002 to 2010, she was responsible for promoting a wide range of ICT for development initiatives at ESCAP and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) as Senior IT Officer. She started her UN career in the area of ICT for Development at the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, the Bureau for Development Policy and UNDP Country Office in Bhutan from 1997 to 2002.
Ms. Okuda obtained a BA from Kyoto University (Japan), MA from Helsinki University (Finland), and has currently been enrolled as a research fellow on e-governance at the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) in the Netherlands. Her academic articles on broadband and AI were published by the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy. Among other publications and research papers, she was the author of a chapter on e-resilience in the 2018 UNDESA E-government Survey and a recent ESCAP blog on digital resilience against COVID-19.