General Assembly elects Norwegian diplomat as head of UN environment programme

13 May 2016

Following the nomination by the United Nations Secretary-General, the General Assembly today elected Erik Solheim of Norway as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a four-year term.

According to a note from the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Mr. Solheim is currently Chair of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a post he has held since 2013, and is serving as UNEP’s Special Envoy for environment, conflict and disaster.

Known as the ‘green’ politician, he has focused on the challenge of integrating environmental and developmental issues.

He was Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development from 2007 to 2012, and served as Minister of International Development from 2005 to 2007. During his ministerial tenure, Norway reached 1 per cent for overseas development assistance and the unique Nature Diversity Act was passed.

He initiated the process leading to the global coalition to conserve and promote sustainable use of the world's rainforests, known as the UN Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN REDD).

Mr. Solheim will succeed Achim Steiner of Germany, who has led UNEP for the past 10 years.


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