Kitty Van Der Heijden

Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF

Speaker Bio

Kitty van der Heijden assumed the position of Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, of UNICEF on 18 August 2023.

Ms. van der Heijden’s career in international development spans over 35 years – working for government, non-governmental organizations and United Nations entities. Prior to her current role, she was the Director General for International Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, responsible for strategy development and global operations in the Dutch development portfolio.

As Vice President and Director for Europe & Africa for the World Resources Institute, she established WRI’s presence in Africa and Europe and was responsible for fundraising and strategic engagement with local actors on challenges such as climate, water and food. This built on her previous experience as the Netherlands’ Ambassador for Sustainable Development and Director for Climate, Energy, Environment and Water.

Ms. van der Heijden’s field experience includes Mexico, India, Ethiopia and Viet Nam. In the latter country, she worked for the United Nations as the Head of the Office of the Resident Coordinator and Senior Advisor on UN reform, responsible for making the UN operations at country level more effective, efficient and coherent. Ms. van der Heijden has served as a non-executive member of the board at Unilever Netherlands (2014-2019) and with the Global Commission on Business and SDGS (2016-2017) and the Global ‘Planetary Security’ Conference (2015-2018). She was awarded the Dutch National ‘Green Ribbon’ of Honor in 2013.

A national of the Netherlands, Ms. van der Heijden has a Master of Economics from Erasmus University, Rotterdam.