Sunday, May 26, 2019

Inger Andersen of Denmark, who has been appointed as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme for a four-year term. COURTESY

Inger Andersen of Denmark, has been appointed as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP), the coordinating body for the United Nations’ environmental activities for a four-year term.

In a press release on Thursday, 21st February, 2019, UNEP said, “Andersen brings a passion for conservation and sustainable development with more than 30 years of experience in international development economics, environmental sustainability and policymaking, as well as in designing and implementing projects.” She has been serving as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2015, and she succeeds Erik Solheim, who resigned in November last year. Solheim’s resignation followed audit queries on his huge travel expenses amounting to Sh50 million.

“Deeply honoured to have been nominated by the UN Secretary General for the position of Executive Director UN Environment. At this critical time for the planet and for humankind, environmental stewardship has never been more important,” she said upon her appointment.

Andersen’s in-tray includes the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), which will take place from March 11-15 in Nairobi. The conference will address environmental challenges related to poverty and natural resources management, including sustainable food systems, food security and halting biodiversity loss, life-cycle approaches to resource efficiency, energy, chemicals and waste management; and innovative sustainable business development at a time of rapid technological change.

There are 195 countries in the world today. This total comprises 193 countries that are member states of the United Nations and 2 countries that are non-member observer states: the Holy See and the State of Palestine. UNEP’s mission is to  provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. he UNEP is the coordinating body for the United Nations’ environmental activities.

Joyce Msuya, from Tanzania, has been the acting executive director.

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