UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for the Republic of Uzbekistan
Helena Fraser is the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Uzbekistan. Helena’s work with the UN in Uzbekistan is informed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as they have “designed and are executing different projects to help these communities rise out of poverty and deal with the fact that they're living in the shadow of this environmental catastrophe” (Imamova, 2018).
Helena joined the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 1997, when she served as a Field Advisor in Tbilisi, Georgia. Her most recent work with OCHA was when she lead their Regional Office for the Syria Crisis in Amman between 2014-2017. For over 20 years, Helena has been involved in OCHA, “primarily working in emergencies” (Imamova, 2018).
Regarding the environmental crises surrounding the Aral Sea and general water scarcity in Uzbekistan, Helena explains the UNDP’s approach:
“We're addressing human dignity. We're addressing challenges around prosperity. We're also addressing possible future challenges around conflict in the community, because of lack of water, because of environmental hazards and so forth.” (in Imamova, 2018)
The demise of the Aral Sea, according to Helena, “is not just a tragedy, as many people say, it is an active hazard unfolding before our eyes” (MacFarquhar, 2018).
Helena is one of our #100WaterHeroes because of her impactful work with the UN, and for her dedication to making the SDGs a reality in Uzbekistan.