Ms. Herfkens subsequently became a member of the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament from 1981-1990. She served as committee member and treasurer of Parliamentarians for Global Action from 1985 to 1996; from 1986 to 1989, she was a member of the Economic Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and joint organizer of the North-South campaign. Ms. Herfkens also served on the Council of the Labour Party (PvdA), and has been chair of the Evert Vermeer Foundation, chair of the Dutch Fair Trade Organization, and a member of the Development Committee of the Netherlands Council of Churches.
From 1990 to 1996, Ms Herfkens represented the Netherlands and a number of other countries at the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C. In 1993, she became co-Dean and in 1995, Dean of the Board, a leadership position that involved coordination of Board member views and representation of the Board vis-a-vis the Bank's President and management. From 1996 to 1998, Ms Herfkens served as Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, in Geneva, Switzerland, a position whose responsibilities involved the representation of the Netherlands in all of the international organizations headquarted in Geneva. In this capacity she served in a number of leadership positions, such as Vice-Chair of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board and Chair of the World Trade Organization (WTO)Subcommittee on Least Development Countries. The latter provided the setting for one of her lasting accomplishments: the establishment of the Integrated Framework for Trade Related Assistance, a coordinating mechanism for trade related assistance to poor countries that, to this day, continues to be the focus of international efforts.
In 1998, she became the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, a job she held until 2002. In this capacity, she radically changed Dutch Development Cooperation priorities. One of her lasting accomplishements was the focusing of Dutch assistance to poorer developing countries that have made real commitments to poverty reduction programs and policies. She widened the influence of Dutch assistance policies by helping establish in 1999 the Utstein Group consisting of the Ministers for Development Cooperation of Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway and the Netherlands. The four Utstein countries agreed to collaborate in their approach towards poverty reduction worldwide, by sreamlining their own aid delivery systems and by influencing the international community's policies to combat poverty. Her work as Minister and member of the Utstein Grouphas received wide international acclaim, including, in 2003, through the award of the first annual Commitment to Development Award by the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C. [see http.www.cgdev.org, press release, April 28, 2003].
On 1 October 2002, Eveline Herfkens was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as his Executive Coordinator for the Millennium Development Goals Campaign , with the rank of an Assistant Secretary General, for a period of 4 years, later prolonged with an additional year by a decision of the UNDP Executive Office. Subsequently, Ms. Herfkens became a permanent resident of the US. As such, under UN rules, she could no longer continue in a managerial position with the Millennium Campaign. However, she has volunteered, and UNDP has accepted, that she continue to be involved in the Campaign as its Founder and Special Advisor to the UNDP Director on a $1 per year salary basis. In this capacity, Ms. Herfkens, will help promote the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through advocacy activities at the global level and in particular in Europe.
In her personal capacity Ms. Herkens, has served and/or is serving as of member of: The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization; The UN Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa; The Governing Board of the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (Geneva, Switzerland); The Governing Board of the African Centre for Economic Transformation (Accra, Ghana); The Governing Board of the International Partnership for Microbicides,(Washington D.C., USA).
Ms. Herfkens is not married. She is currently living in Maryland (US) with her partner Costas Michalopoulos.
It is however, against U.N. rules to offer and accept such benefits; and this Dutch policy has been changed recently. UNDP has conducted and completed an internal review regarding this matter. The review concluded that the Dutch government should have known that the provision of such benefits violated U.N. Staff Regulations. The review also concluded that, while Ms. Herfkens did break U.N. rules by accepting the use of an apartment whose rent was paid by the Dutch government, she did so unknowingly and in good faith; and that lack of induction, given the haste in which the MDG Campaign office was set up, also contributed to her not being aware of the prohibition of receiving benefits from a Member. In light of these conclusions, UNDP considers the matter closed.