Thomas Markram

Non-Resident Distinguished Expert
International Organizations and Multilateral Diplomacy

Thomas MarkramThomas Markram is a former South African diplomat and retired United Nations official.

From 2016 -2022 he was the Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations, New York. He joined the United Nations Secretariat in 2005 and was previously the Chief of the Regional Disarmament Branch and Chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch.

During his UN tenure he was Secretary-General of the 2015 and 2010 Review Conferences of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and also for the conference that concluded and adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017. He has briefed the Security Council on disarmament and non-proliferation issues related to SC resolution 2118 on chemical weapons elimination as well as on biological weapons issues. He also participated in the Glion/Geneva consultations in preparation for the Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction pursuant to the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

He previously served as South Africa’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organisations and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, from 1999 until 2003, and was Director for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (1997 to 1999 and again in 2003, after his return from Geneva) at the South African Department of Foreign Affairs. In that capacity he dealt with all facets of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control issues and participated as an adviser in the final negotiations of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996 and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in 1997. He has also led South African delegations to various meetings, including the Missile Technology Control Regime, the negotiations leading to the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation and served on the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Missiles. He was also part of a seven-person delegation sent by President Thabo Mbeki to Iraq in February 2003 to engage the Saddam Hussein government on an orderly cooperative disarmament process based on the South African experience in an attempt to avert war.

He spends his retirement time between Colorado and South Africa.