Jan Pronk

Jan Pronk

Infobox Officeholder
name = Jan Pronk

imagesize = 200px
caption = Jan Pronk in 2005
office = Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment
term_start = August 3, 1998
term_end = July 22, 2002
primeminister = Wim Kok
predecessor = Margreeth de Boer
successor = Henk Kamp
office2 = Minister of Development Cooperation
term_start2 = November 7, 1989
term_end2 = August 3, 1998
primeminister2 = Ruud Lubbers and Wim Kok
predecessor2 = Piet Bukman
successor2 = Eveline Herfkens
office3 = Minister of Development Cooperation
term_start3 = May 11, 1973
term_end3 = December 19, 1977
primeminister3 = Joop den Uyl
predecessor3 = Kees Boertien
successor3 = Jan de Koning
birth_date = birth date and age|1940|3|16
birth_place = Scheveningen, Netherlands
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = Dutch
party = Labour Party (PvdA)
spouse = Tineke Zuurmond
children = Carin and Rochus
residence =
religion = Dutch Reformed Church
website = [http://www.janpronk.nl/ www.janpronk.nl]

Johannes "Jan" Pieter Pronk (born March 16, 1940) is a Dutch politician and diplomat. Between 1973 and 2002, he has served three terms as Minister of Development Cooperation and one term as Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in the Dutch parliament for the Labour Party (PvdA). From 2004 until 2006, he was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission for the United Nations Mission in Sudan. Currently, he is a Professor of Theory and Practice of International Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague.

Early life

Jan Pronk was born in Scheveningen in the Netherlands on March 16, 1940. [http://www.parlement.com/9291000/biof/01735 Drs. J.P. Pronk] . Retrieved on August 20, 2007.] He is the son of Johannes Pronk (1909–2005) and Elisabeth Hendrika van Geel, who were both school teachers at the Protestant elementary school "Koningin Emmaschool" in Scheveningen. [ [http://www.janpronk.nl/index146.html Bij het Overlijden van Mijn Vader] . Retrieved on August 20, 2007.] Jan Pronk attended the "Koningin Emmaschool" for three years. He attended the Protestant secundary school "Zandvliet Lyceum" in the Hague, where he graduated the gymnasium in 1958 with a curriculum that focused on exact sciences.

Jan Pronk continued to study economics at the Nederlandse Economische hogeschool (currently Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics) in Rotterdam, graduating in 1964. As a student, he worked as a guide on the "Henri Dunant", the Dutch Red Cross's holiday ship for the disabled. [ [http://www.europaworld.org/week186/janpronk16704.htm Jan Pronk: Special Representative for the world's conscience] . Retrieved on August 20, 2007.] He was a member of the Christian-Historical Youth Organisation, the youth organisation of the conservative Protestant Christian Historical Union party and president of the Protestant fraternity S.S.R..

In 1965 Pronk became research-assistant of professor Jan Tinbergen, the future Nobel Prize laureate, at the Centre for Development Planning and later he became associate professor at the Dutch Economic Institute. In this period he also became an active member of the social-democratic PvdA, between 1966 and 1971 he was chairman of the Krimpen aan de Lek-branch of the party. He became active in the development cooperation-movement, serving as chairman of the "X-Y"-movement: an alternative Dutch development cooperation fund.


Netherlands (1971–1977)

In 1971 Pronk was elected into the Lower house of the Dutch parliament for the Labour Party. He was shadow minister for development cooperation in the leftwing shadow cabinet of PvdA, D66 and PPR. He served secretary of the committee Mansholt, a committee of these three parties on the implications of the Limits to Growth-report for the Netherlands. He was re-elected in 1972. In 1973 he became Minister of Development Cooperation in the cabinet Den Uyl. He changed the development cooperation-policy of the Netherlands, giving it a political goal: the equal distribution of power and wealth in the world. The development cooperation policy became oriented towards the New International Economic Order, in which developing countries would become self-reliant. In 1975 1,5% of the domestic product was spent on development aid. His proposal to include communist states as Cuba and North Yemen as recipient countries of Dutch development aid, led to some controversy, but he put his proposal through. His policy supported liberation movement in Southern Africa. His leftwing policy put him at odds with the more moderate PvdA Minister of Foreign Affairs Max van der Stoel. As minister of Development Cooperation Pronk held several prominent positions in international organizations: between 1973 and 1977 he was Deputy Governor of the World Bank. [http://www.janpronk.nl/index2.html CV] on janpronk.nl] Because of his many international travels, he often fell asleep at Cabinet meetings, which lasted until very late in the night.

United Nations (1977-1986)

In 1977 he returned to Parliament. He combined this period in Parliament with several posts in the world of development cooperation: in 1979 he also became Professor of International Development at the Institute of Social Studies; he was a member of the committee "Church Participation in Development" of the World Council of Churches and of the Councils Commission of Advisors on Economic Affairs; he was a member of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems of UNESCO; and in the Netherlands he was member of the Council for Government and Social Affairs of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1978 he became Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. In 1980 he left Parliament to become Assistant Secretary-General of the UNCTAD. In 1985 he was Assistant UN Secretary-General.

Return to the Netherlands (1986-2002)

Pronk was re-elected to Parliament in 1986. In 1987 he was elected vice-chair of the PvdA, after first considering running for chair. In 1987 he was co-writer of the report "Moving Panels" in which the PvdA moderated its policies. In 1989 he combined his work as MP with a position as professor at the University of Amsterdam, where he occupied the "Joop den Uyl chair", created by the scientific foundation of the PvdA. Although he was originally asked to become Minister of Defense he returned to the post of development cooperation in the third cabinet Lubbers in 1989] . During his period as minister of development cooperation he sought to combine economic and social development, with environmental protection. As minister of Development Cooperation he again became deputy governor of the World Bank. In 1992 his criticism of Indonesian government's record on human rights, caused the Indonesian government to refuse development aid from the Netherlands ever since. In 1993 he was asked to become Deputy UN Secretary-General, but he refused. After the 1994 elections he remained Minister of Development Cooperation, now in the first cabinet Kok.

In 1998 he again became a minister in the second cabinet Kok but he switched to Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. During this period he focused on sustainable development. In 2000 a fire works depot exploded in the neighbourhood of Enschede. As minister he was responsible for this event, although there was considerable controversy surrounding the disaster he did not step down. In 2000 he was the Dutch candidate for the post of High Commissioner for Refugees, a post which was taken by another Dutchman, former prime minister Ruud Lubbers. In 2000 and 2001 he chaired the UN climate conference, where parties agreed upon a compliance mechanism for the Kyoto protocol for the reduction of greenhouse gases. In 2002 when the report on the Dutch involvement in the Srebrenica massacre was published, it became clear that the Dutchbat peacekeeping force had been unable to prevent the massacre. On April 10, Pronk announced that he would step down as minister because he felt politically responsible. On April 16, the entire Kok second Cabinet stepped down. In 2002 the Labour Party lost half its seats; Pronk was re-elected to Parliament, but he refused the position, because he wanted new faces to enter Parliament. In December 2002, he became Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Return to the United Nations (2002–2006)

Since 2002 Pronk has held several positions in the United Nations.

In 2002 he came Special UN envoy to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Tokyo. He moderated discussions on water, hygiene, the environment and biodiversity. In 2003 he chaired the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

In 2003 he returned to the Institute of Social Studies as professor theory and practice of development cooperation. Pronk still holds several posts in Dutch civil society. In 2004 he came into conflict with minister Verdonk (Migration & Integration), because he characterized the way she sent asylum-seekers out of the country as "deportation".

In June 2004 Pronk was appointed UN Special Representative for Sudan by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan

On September 21, 2006, Pronk asked the warring parties in Darfur, including President Omar al-Bashir and the seven rebel movements, to observe a "month of tranquility" during Ramadan, which would begin September 23, 2006. His implicit call for a ceasefire in the western region of Sudan came after the Khartoum government withdrew its ultimatum for African Union peacekeepers to pull out. Other African states then agreed to extend their mandate until the end of 2006. By Pronk's request, they would finish the collision course, which would mean no fighting, no bombing, no changes of heart. Such a lull would help "create an atmosphere" for a new round of negotiations. The peace deal was "in a coma": not dead but dying. In addition the rejectionist factions should end the quarrel to start talking about everything related to the Darfur peace agreement to improve it. [cite web|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1878251,00.html|title=UN envoy calls for peace in Darfur during Ramadan|author=Steele, Jonathan|date=2006-09-22|accessdate=2006-10-22|publisher=The Guardian]

In mid-October 2006, the army of Sudan accused Pronk of "waging psychological warfare on the armed forces" and demanded his deportation after Pronk published thoughts on army military defeats in his weblog. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6069188.stm "Expel UN envoy, Sudan army says"] , BBC News, 20 October 2006] On 22 October, the Sudanese government gave Pronk three days' notice to leave the country. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6074808.stm "UN envoy is told to leave Sudan"] , BBC News, 22 October 2006] He left Sudan the next day (October 23) when UN Secretary General Kofi Annan recalled him to New York for consultations. [cite news | title = UN envoy leaves after Sudan row | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6076022.stm | work = BBC NEWS | publisher = BBC | date = October 23, 2006 | accessdate = 2006-10-24] On October 27 the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announce that Pronk will serve out his last months as Special Representative of the Secretary-general in Sudan. [cite news| title = Annan confirms Pronk will serve out his term as top envoy for Sudan |url = http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20396&Cr=sudan&Cr1= | work = UN News Centre | publisher = UN|date = October 27, 2006 | accessdate = 2006-10-28]

Pronk's story roughly parallels that of Mukesh Kapila, a previous UN employee who was forced to leave Sudan after making critical comments about the Darfur conflict.

Labour Party (2007–present)

Jan Pronk was a candidate for the election of the chairman of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA). As a candidate he wanted the party to return to a more leftwing course. He lost the election, between September 16 and September 23, 2007, from Liliane Ploumen. [ [http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article754946.ece Pronk: PvdA moet weer 'echt linkse' partij zijn] . Retrieved on August 20, 2007.]

Public perception

During his political life, Pronk was known as principled politician. Prime Minister Kok called him the "Minister for the national conscience". [ [http://www.gcnl.nu/gastsprekers/gastspr_nat.htm profile as guest speaker] on www,gcnl.nu] Because he was minister for over 17 years, he came to be known as "minister by profession". As minister, he also got a less positive
[http://www.hpdetijd.nl/ergste.php "http://www.hpdetijd.nl/ergste.php"] ] , sponsored by the HP De Tijd, only behind Volkert van der Graaf, the murderer of the late politician Pim Fortuyn.


Jan Pronk has two honorary degrees and he is member of five chivalric orders. A full list of all his honorary decorations:
*Doctor honoris causa (1974), San Marcos University, Peru
*Grand Cordon in the Honorary Order of the Palm (1977), Surinam
*Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion (1978), Netherlands
*Grand Cross of the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins (1993), Chile
*26th September Medal (1996), Yemen
*Officer in the Légion d'honneur (2001), France
*Doctor honoris causa (2002), Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands
*Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau (2002), Netherlands

Private life

Pronk is married to Tineke Zuurmond. They have two grown children, a daughter Carin and a son Rochus. [http://www.janpronk.nl/index.html Welcome] . Retrieved on August 22, 2007.] In 1984 Pronk gave up alcohol in one day and became an avid runner. [ [http://www.janpronk.nl/index56.html Lijstjes Liegen Niet] Column van Pronk uit 2004]


External links

* [http://www.janpronk.nl Jan Pronk]
* [http://www.janpronk.nl/index120.html Jan Pronk's weblog]
* [http://www.stemjanpronk.nl/ Support Jan Pronk]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/6190537.stm Jan Pronk] (interview about Sudan), "HARDtalk", BBC, December 16, 2006

NAME=Pronk, Jan
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Pronk, Johannes Pieter (full name)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Dutch politician
DATE OF BIRTH=16 March 1940
PLACE OF BIRTH=The Hague, Netherlands

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