In a statement Tuesday, the secretary-general said Gambari will work out of the United Nations to support efforts toward restoring democracy in Burma and protecting human rights in the country.
Gambari had held talks last year with the Burmese government on democratic reforms.
The United Nations has been urging the country's military government to undertake reforms and respect human rights.
Gambari's appointment is effective immediately.
He has been serving as special adviser on reconstruction and economic development in Iraq.
Information for this story is provided by AP and UN release.