17 March 2006

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Achim Steiner as Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme

NEW YORK, 16 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following the nomination by the Secretary-General, the General Assembly today elected Achim Steiner of Germany as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a four-year term.

Mr Steiner is currently the Director-General of IUCN -- the World Conservation Union -- the world's largest environmental network with over 1,000 members including States, Government agencies, and non-governmental organizations in 140 countries.

He has worked both at the grass-roots level and at the highest levels of international policymaking to address the interface between environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic development.

His professional career has included assignments with Governmental and non-governmental, as well as international organizations in different parts of the world.  In Washington, where he was Senior Policy Adviser of the IUCN Global Policy Unit, he led the development of new partnerships between the environment community and the World Bank and United Nations system.  In South-East Asia, he worked as Chief Technical Adviser on a programme for 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.

In 2001, he was appointed Director-General of the World Conservation Union, widely regarded as one of the most influential and highly respected organizations in the field of conservation, environment and natural resources management.  As Chief Executive, he has held responsibility for the management and oversight of 1,000 staff located in 42 countries, implementing the Union's global work programme.

His 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.

Mr. Steiner was born in Brazil in 1961 where he lived for 10 years.  His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oxford, as well as a Master of Arts 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).

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