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Achim Steiner

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Nationality  Brazilian, German
Name  Achim Steiner

Role  Political figure
Predecessor  Klaus Topfer
Alma mater  Worcester College, Oxford, University of London, Harvard Business School
Occupation  Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme
Education  University of Oxford, Harvard Business School, University of London

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Achim Steiner (born 17 May 1961 in Carazinho, Brazil) is an expert in environmental issues and politics who currently serves as Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. Before joining UNDP, he was Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP (2006–2016), and director of the Oxford Martin School (2016–2017). He has also served as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Secretary-General of the World Commission on Dams.


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Early life and education

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The son of a German farmer who had emigrated to Rio Grande do Sul, Achim Steiner was born in Brazil in 1961 and holds German as well as Brazilian citizenship. He went to school in Carazinho and at Dover College. He obtained a BA from the University of Oxford and an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, specializing in development economics, regional planning, international development and environment policy. He also studied at the German Development Institute in Berlin and the Harvard Business School.


Achim Steiner IISD RS GCSS12GMEF 2022 February 2012 UN

Steiner started his career in 1989 at the Rural Regional Development Department, GTZ, in Germany. From 1991 to 1997 he worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Southern Africa and Washington, D.C. He was Chief Technical Adviser of the Mekong River Commission (1997–1998) before becoming Secretary-General of the World Commission on Dams. In 2001 he returned to IUCN as Director-General.

United Nations Environment Programme, 2006–2015

Acting on the nomination of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 unanimously elected Steiner Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a four-year term. At the time, he was not nominated by a Member State, but prevailed over candidates such as Børge Brende of Norway and Rajendra K. Pachauri of India. His mandate was later extended twice, this time on the proposal of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Secretary-General appointed Steiner as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), where he served from March 2009 to May 2011. Within the UN system he also chaired the High-level Committee on Programmes of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination and the United Nations Environment Management Group. On 3 May 2016, Ban Ki-moon announced that the post of Executive Director of UNEP would be taken over by Erik Solheim in June 2016.

Oxford Martin School, 2015–2016

Upon leaving UNEP, Steiner was appointed director of the Oxford Martin School, a post he took up in September 2016. In addition to his role at the University of Oxford, Steiner was appointed Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement by the Federal Government of Germany in October 2016.

In late 2015, Reuters reported that Steiner was one of three candidates shortlisted to succeed António Guterres as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, alongside Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark, Jasmine Whitbread of the United Kingdom, and Filippo Grandi of Italy; the post eventually went to Grandi.

United Nations Development Programme, 2017–present

In April 2017, following consultations with the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Steiner as the programme's new Administrator. On 19 April 2017, the United Nations General Assembly confirmed him for a four-year term.

Other activities

  • German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), Member (since 2016, appointed ad personam by Chancellor Angela Merkel)
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC), Member of the Sustainability and Legacy Commission
  • Agora Verkehrswende, Chairman of the Council
  • Platform on Disaster Displacement, Chair of the Advisory Committee
  • China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), International Vice-Chair
  • Earth Day Network, Member of the Global Advisory Committee
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), Member of the Advisory Board
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Member of the Environmental Advisory Council (ENVAC)
  • Awards

  • Slovak Republic's Gold Medal for Diplomatic Service<
  • Republic of Korea Order of Diplomatic Service Award
  • 2012 — The National German Sustainability Award
  • 2010 – Leadership Award for Principled Pragmatism – Tällberg Foundation
  • 2009 — Officer of the Order of Saint-Charles (Monaco)
  • Shark Guardian of the Year 2008 – Shark Project;
  • 2008 — Schubert Preis – Bruno H. Schubert Stiftung
  • 2007 — Steiger Award – Umwelt
  • Honorary degrees

  • Honorary Doctorate, International University in Geneva (IUG)
  • Honorary Professor, Tongji University, Shanghai
  • References

    Achim Steiner Wikipedia