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Sakari Tuomioja (Finland)

UNECE Executive Secretary from 1957 to 1960

Sakari Tuomioja was an economist whose career included a period as Governor of the Bank of Finland. He was a member of the Finnish Government on many occasions, serving as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1950-1951 and Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1951-1952. He also represented Finland as Ambassador in London and Stockholm.

Sakari Tuomioja was the first Finnish senior official at the United Nations, occupying the role of Executive Secretary in the UN's Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) in 1957-1960. At the same time he also took part in the work of the UN group involved in economic planning in Laos, serving as the group's chairman. When the crisis in Cyprus degenerated into armed conflict at the start of 1964, the UN Security Council responded by despatching peacekeeping troops (UNFICYP) to the island. Sakari Tuomioja acted for a short period as the first representative of the Secretary-General, seeking a peaceful political solution to the crisis. Unfortunately, his involvement lasted only a matter of months, from April 1964 until his untimely death in August of the same year, at the age of 50.