UNEP Welcomes Achim Steiner as Executive Director
Nairobi, 15 June 2006 - Achim Steiner assumes his duties today as the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Acting on the nomination of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN General Assembly unanimously elected Mr. Steiner as the new Executive Director of UNEP on 16 March 2006 for a four-year term, effective 15 June 2006. Mr. Steiner becomes the fifth Executive Director in UNEP's history.
Before joining UNEP, Mr. Steiner served as Director General of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) from 2001 to 2006. IUCN is widely regarded as one of the most influential and highly respected organizations in the field of conservation, environment and natural resources management. He held responsibility for the management and oversight of 1,000 staff located in 42 countries
Mr. Steiner's professional track record in the fields of sustainable development policy and environmental management, his first-hand knowledge of civil society, governmental and international organizations, as well as his global experience spanning five Continents, make him an excellent choice to lead the United Nations Environment Programme.
His professional career has included assignments with governmental, non-governmental and international organizations in different parts of the world. In Washington, where he was Senior Policy Advisor of IUCN's Global Policy Unit, he led the development of new partnerships between the environment community, the World Bank and the United Nations system. In Southeast Asia he worked as Chief Technical Advisor on a programme for the sustainable management of Mekong River watersheds and community-based natural resources management. In 1998 he was appointed Secretary-General of the World Commission on Dams, based in South Africa, where he managed a global programme of work to bring together the public sector, civil society and the private sector in a global policy process on dams and development.
He worked both at grassroots level as well as at the highest levels of international policy-making to address the interface between environmental sustainability, social equity and economic development.
Mr. Steiner, a German national, was born in Brazil in 1961, where he lived for ten years. His educational background includes a BA from the University of Oxford as well as an MA from the University of London with specialization in development economics, regional planning, and international development and environment policy. He also studied at the German Development Institute in Berlin as well as the Harvard Business School.
Mr. Steiner serves on a number of international advisory boards, including the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) and the Environmental Advisory Council (ENVAC) of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).