UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Kofi Annan chose a German conservationist to head the UN Environment Program for a four-year term, a UN spokesman announced onWednesday.
Achim Steiner, now director-general of the World Conservation Union, will replace another German, Klaus Toepfer, as head of UNEP, based in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Steiner, 44, is expected to assume his post on June 15 after ratification by the UN General Assembly, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
UNEP was established in 1972 to guide environmental activities at the United Nations, especially among developing nations, through its scientific advisory groups.
Its widely recognized activity is Earthwatch, an international monitoring system designed to facilitate the exchange of information on significant environmental risks among governments.
The World Conservation Union that Steiner heads is the world’s largest environmental network with over 1,000 members in 140 countries, including governments and advocacy groups.
Dujarric said Steiner had “worked both at the grass-roots level and at the highest levels of international policy-making to address the connections between environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic development.”
Steiner was born in Brazil and received degrees from Oxford University and the University of London and studied at the German Development Institute in Berlin as well as Harvard Business School.