Shafqat Kakakhel has been a member of the SDPI Board of Governors since 2009. He is a former member of Pakistan's Diplomatic Service and also served as Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme for nearly a decade.
Born and raised in Peshawar, Shafqat Kakakhel was educated at Edwardes College, Islamia College and the University of Peshawar. He obtained a BA in Economics and Political Science and MA in Political Science. He joined the Foreign Service in 1969. His overseas postings included Beirut, Cairo, Bonn and Jeddah at junior levels and in New Delhi and Nairobi as Deputy High Commissioner and High Commissioner respectively.
During his tenure in Delhi, Shafqat Kakakhel represented Pakistan as Permanent Representative to the UN Environment Programme and the UN Centre for Human Settlements-HABITAT from September 1994 to August 1998. He was elected President of the UNEP Governing Council in May 1995 and was the Chief Negotiator for the G-77 in the preparatory meetings of the second World Summit on Human Settlements in 1995-6 and was elected chair of the main negotiations committee at the Summit held in Istanbul in June 1996.
Shafqat Kakakhel represented Pakistan at the Rio+5 Conference and the Kyoto Climate Change meeting in 1997. In August 1998, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed him as Deputy Executive Director of UNEP with the rank of UN Assistant Secretary General, a position he held until his voluntary retirement in December 2007.
During his decade long tenure in UNEP, Shafqat assisted the Executive Director in all aspects of the Programme's activities. He headed the Programme Planning and Coordination Committee responsible for the planning and implementation of UNEP's programmes and projects. He coordinated the work of all UNEP divisions and offices, whether located in Nairobi or abroad. He represented UNEP in the meetings of the Programme Coordination Committee of the General Assembly convened to consider UNEP's plans and programmes, including the biennial Programme of Work and Budget. He headed the Secretariat team during the UNEP Governing Council, the Conferences of Parties of UNEP-administered Conventions, and meetings of Ministers of Environment of different regions.
Since retirement and return to Pakistan, Shafqat Kakakhel has tried to contribute to efforts by the Government and other stakeholders for the protection of the country's fragile environment. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the M/O Environment, the Task Force on Climate Change and Board of Governors of the SDPI. He designed and taught a course on Global Environmental Issues and Governance for M.Phil programme at the Environmental Economics Center of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, in 2009. Shafqat Kakakhel was elected member of the Executive Board of the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanisms for 2009-10 and again for the years 2011-12, representing the Non Annex parties of Asia Pacific.
Shafqat Kakakhel likes to read books, take long walks, listen to music and play with his grandchildren as often as possible.