UNCCD mourns the death of its first Executive Secretary


It is our great sadness that Mr Hama Arba Diallo has passed away this morning at around 1am in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso.  He was the first Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (1993 to 2007). 

Mr. Diallo

Mr Diallo was born on 23 March 1939 in Dori, a town in northeastern Burkina Faso. He was a leading negotiator in the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) process.  He served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the UNCED from 1990 to 1992. Prior to this, he served 24 years as a top official in the state and foreign ministries of Burkina Faso - as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and as Ambassador of Burkina Faso to China, India and Japan between 1988-89. He was the Director of the UN Sudano-Sahelian Office (1979-1983). After he left the UNCCD in 2007, he served his country as a National Assembly parliamentarian and Mayor of Dori.

He once said, “Success is never granted and there is always a reason to it” referring to global environmental challenges and the need of more intensified international cooperation to fight against desertification. He was a man of conviction. Mr Diallo will be remembered by all who knew and worked with him with respect and appreciation.

His burial will take place on Friday, 3 October in Dori. For those of you who would like to send a condolence to his family, please send it to secretariat@unccd.int


Message from Monique Barbut, the current UNCCD Executive Secretary

Dear Colleagues,

It is with profound sadness that I have to inform you of the passing away of Mr. Hama Arba Diallo, early this morning in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 

He was the first Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. His death is a great loss to all of us. He was a leader and a visionary who truly inspired the UNCCD from its inception.

At this very sad moment, I would like to offer on behalf of the UNCCD our profound sympathy and condolences to the family of Hama Arba Diallo, a remarkable human being indeed that we are going to miss sorely.

May Arba rest in peace.


Monique Barbut
Executive Secretary