Tan Sri Razali Ismail, a Malaysian, aged 77, retired from government service in 1998 after a career in the Malaysian Diplomatic Service over 35 years and was appointed the Special Adviser to the then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
He held various offices, in India (1963-1966), France (1966-1968), the United Kingdom, London (1970-1972) and Laos (1974-1976). He was appointed Ambassador to Poland in 1978 with concurrent accreditation to the then German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia and Hungary before serving as High Commissioner to India in 1982, Deputy Secretary-General (Political Affairs) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985 and Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations (“UN”) from 1988 to 1998 with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to Cuba, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago.
At the UN, Tan Sri Razali Ismail served in various capacities: as Chairman of the Group of 77 in 1989, from 1989 to 1990, he headed the Malaysian delegation to the UN Security Council and served twice as its President – in June 1989 and in July 1990. He was elected Chairman of the Commission on Sustainable Development in 1993 and President of the Fifty-First Session of the UN General Assembly, 1996-1997. Tan Sri Razali Ismail was involved in articulating and developing positions in various bodies on issues such as development and sustainability, poverty and marginalisation, political reforms in the UN and issues of human rights and the environment. He continues to keep abreast on these subjects at home and abroad, through participation at seminars and interacting with personalities and bodies, ties established earlier. He was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Myanmar for more than 5 years (from 2000-2005).
In Malaysia, Tan Sri Razali Ismail is involved in environmental industries specifically in renewable energy and solar, and is the Pro Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. He was Chairman of Yayasan Salam, Chairman of a grant organization on Natural Disaster, Force of Nature (FON), and President of WWF Malaysia, heads an NGO project, Yayasan Chow Kit, supported by government on street and displaced children. He also sits on the Board of the Razak School of Government. He has been appointed Chairman of the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation by the Prime Minister since late 2012. He has from April 2016 appointed Chairman of SUHAKAM for 3 years.
He received the first Elizabeth Haub Prize for Environmental Diplomacy by Pace University, New York on 11 May 1999.