Our Team – The Division for Arab States, Europe and the CIS

Zanofer Ismalebbe

Regional Chief for Arab States, Europe and the CIS of the UNOSSC


He assumed this role in October 2020. Prior to joining UNOSSC, he was the Team Leader of the Intergovernmental Engagement Team in the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy (BERA) of UNDP New York from 2015-2020. During this period, and from 2019-2020, he also served concurrently as the Team Leader ad interim of the UN System Affairs Group. In both capacities, he led on strategic positioning, representation, advocacy and partnerships; policy and political outreach to Member States and groupings of States on a number corporate matters and thematic areas; intergovernmental negotiation processes; UN development system reform outreach and engagement; served in the drafting committee of the UN System-wide Strategy on South-South and Triangular cooperation; and was the Bureau’s lead in UNDP’s engagement in the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board and the Joint Meeting of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women and WFP.

From 2013-2014, he worked as the Senior Policy Specialist in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General in New York and provided policy support to Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General, including on Post-2015 development agenda, G20, UN reform, South-South Cooperation, and UN Development Group matters. From 2000-2013, he worked in UNDP (Geneva), Office of the UN Resident Coordinator (Tashkent), UNDP (Tashkent), UNICEF (Colombo), UNHCR (Colombo) and UNHCR (London). From 1998-1999, he also worked as a Researcher for the Law and Society Trust (Colombo) on legal and constitutional reform.

He is a lawyer by training with a Master of Law (LL.M.) from the University of Essex, UK, where he was a Chevening Scholar of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the University of Massachusetts, USA.

Sayora Arifdjanova

Advisor, Regional and Country Support for Europe and the CIS, and Advocacy & Communications


Expertise: Regional Cooperation, Banking and Finance, Project Management, Communication &, Knowledge Management, Strategic Partnerships & Networking, Research & Higher Education.

Responsibilities: Provide advisory and organizational services for Country-level Support in advancing the South-South Cooperation agendas of the countries in the Europe and CIS region; provide advisory support in elaboration of dedicated regional and national-level programme initiatives in support to East- East/South-South Cooperation; facilitate mainstreaming of the notion of South-South/East-East Cooperation in the region through advocacy and communication.

Tingwei Yin

Programme Analyst


Expertise: Programme Management, Knowledge Management.

Responsibilities: Provide overall support to the implementation of the Division’s workplan that covers two regions; provide analytical support for the promotion and optimization of South-South and triangular cooperation; take stock of relevant best practices and lessons learned and coordinate on knowledge product, analyse and summarise relevant policy briefs and papers to contribute to policy advocacy and programme development efforts.

Naylya Berezovskaya

Consultant, Finance and Operations