Press Releases March 2006 - Achim Steiner Elected New UNEP Executive Director - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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Achim Steiner Elected New UNEP Executive Director

New York, 16 March 2006 - The General Assembly, acting upon the nomination of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, today unanimously elected Achim Steiner of Germany as the new Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a four -year term, effective 15 June 2006.
Mr. Steiner, who is currently the Director-General of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), will succeed Klaus Toepfer, who has served the UN for more than eight years, and become the fifth Executive Director in UNEP's history.

Out-Going Head of UNEP Salutes In-Coming One

Nairobi, 16 March 2006 - Warm congratulations were today issued by Klaus Toepfer, the outgoing head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to his elected successor.

Today the General Assembly of the United Nations approved the recommendation of Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, and elected Achim Steiner of Germany as the next UNEP Executive Director.

Mr Steiner, currently Director General of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), is expected to take up his appointment on 15 June. He will become UNEP’s fifth Executive Director since the organization was established in the early 1970s.

Mr Toepfer described his successor as “an outstanding individual among a field of outstanding candidates. I am delighted that Achim Steiner has accepted this important international post at an organization that has a key role in delivering sustainable development, fighting poverty, realizing social justice and achieving stability in the 21st century”.

“I am convinced that choosing Achim Steiner will prove to be a great decision bringing youth, dynamism, intellect and a deeply held commitment to environment and sustainable development issues,” said Mr Toepfer.

“In addition, his breadth of experience with intergovernmental organizations and negotiations, civil society, scientists and private business will build on UNEP’s evolving networks with and beyond governments,” he added.

Mr Toepfer added: “On a personal note, I would like to add that I have know Achim Steiner for many years and consider him a good and solid friend whose charm, sense of humour and warmth will stand him in good stead over the challenging years ahead”.

Mr Toepfer steps down on 31 March after completing just over two four year terms as UNEP Executive Director.

For More Information Please Contact Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: +254 20 762 3084; Mobile: 254 733 632 755, E-mail:

If there is no prompt response, please contact Elisabeth Waechter, UNEP Associate Media Officer, on Tel: 254 20 7623088, Mobile: 254 720 173968, E-mail:




Further Resources

Achim Steiner 's Bio

IUCN - The World Conservation Union

RIO +10 Interview

Shortlist of Candidates for Post of Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

General Assembly elects Achim Steiner of Germany Executive Director of UNEP

Note by the UN Secretary General

Election of the Executive Director of UNEP
General Assembly
Elections to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other elections
Note by the Secretary General

China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED)

Environmental Advisory Council (ENVAC)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

World Commission on Dams


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